Enes Kanter, professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA and open critic of Turkey for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, receivedAHEPAInaugural Human Rights Prize on April 30, 2021.
Supreme President George G. Horiates and former Supreme Councilor Gregory Stamos presented the award, a first for AHEPA, to Kanter, of Turkish descent.
It’s an honor to accept the top human rights award from @OrderOfAHEPA, Kanter wrote in a tweet. It is a huge step forward in building strong bridges between Turkey and Greece. A big thank you to the Greco-American community.
Kanter, who sharply criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, highlighted human rights violations and human rights violations in Turkey.
As a result, Kanter and his family became targets of the Turkish government. Kanter’s father, a political opponent of Erdogan, was jailed for seven years.
Kanter is persona non grata in Turkey
Kanter was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents and raised in Turkey, but his outspokenness has now turned him into a persona non grata in the country.
The Turkish government revoked his passport in 2017 and accused him and his family members of “terrorism”. Kanter has not been back to Turkey for years, nor has he spoken to many of his family members who still live there.
His NBA games were censored in Turkey and he had to forgo international team travel due to the threat of arrest abroad.
“Enes Kanter’s activism and open criticism of authoritarianism in Turkey, to the point where he is essentially an enemy of his own country, make him one of the most important and credible voices for justice and human rights – not just in sport – but also in the global community, ”said Horiates.
“He speaks on behalf of the millions of people who cannot speak out and pleads for a more just Turkey and, in essence, a more just world. We are proud to present him with our first human rights award. “
Human rights in Turkey
Horiates added his gratitude for the time Kanter spent with him discussing human rights issues and abuses in Turkey.
According to Horiates, Kanter spoke of the imprisonment of political opponents, journalists and others who have been targeted, harassed – and even tortured – simply because of their ethnicity or opposition to Erdogan.
Horiates also thanked Kanter for the ease with which Kanter allowed AHEPA to postpone the award ceremony, which was originally scheduled last year but postponed due to the pandemic.
The Utah Jazz chose Kanter, a center, as their third overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, on the principles that underlie its struggle for civil rights and against discrimination, bigotry and hatred at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, AHEPA is the largest and most former association of American citizens of Greek origin. and Philhellenes with over 400 chapters in the United States, Canada and Europe.
The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.
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