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OKC Thunder Player Back In U.S. After Detainment Abroad

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Oklahoma City Thunder player Enes Kanter is back in the U.S. after his passport from Turkey was revoked this weekend.

Kanter spent several hours in a Romanian airport before he was allowed to leave.

Kanter is from Turkey, but is a very outspoken critic of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  He believes his passport was canceled as a result of his criticism.

“The reason behind it is of course, my political views,” said Kanter on Twitter.

Monday on CBS This Morning, Kanter talked about how he escaped from Indonesia the night before.

“So I remember I was sleeping like 2:30 a.m. or something and my manager knocked on the door. He said the secret service, the Indonesian military was looking for me because the Turkish government told them I was a dangerous man. So we didn’t know what to do,” said Kanter.

Thunder attorneys, as well as the NBA, and Oklahoma Senators Jim Inholf and James Lankford got involved and Kanter was able to get on a plane to London, and eventually New York. Although, it’s still a mystery on how Kanter managed to get to London and into the U.S. without a valid passport. 

Dr. Mohamed Daadaoui, a Political Science Professor at Oklahoma City University says without a passport people are typically sent back to their home country. 

"Probably the Turkish authorities, I'd venture a guess, were hoping for him to be extradited and deported and Enes Kanter would probably be in trouble," said Dr. Daadaoui.

Dr. Daadaoui points out the U.S. is currently trying to strengthen relations with Turkey, an important ally. Pres. Erdogan was in the U.S. last week meeting with Pres. Donald Trump. 

Dr. Daadaoui believes that's likely why the State Department is keeping a low profile about their involvement. If Kanter was sent back to Turkey, he likely would have been put in prison.

"I think it would create a nightmare for the league, for the team, for the United States ultimately," said Dr. Daadaoui. 

Kanter said he now wants to become a U.S. citizen and Dr. Daadaoui said he may qualify as a political refugee.

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