Free basketball camp hosted by former Knicks player moved due to threat by Turkish consulate

Posted: Updated:
WEST HEMPSTEAD -

An NBA player claims that threats from the Turkish consulate has forced one of his free camps on Long Island to be moved.

Former New York Knick Enes Kanter was supposed to hold the camp at the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury this weekend.

"The Turkish consulate actually came to the mosque and threatened the leaders and said 'if you do a basketball camp with Enes Kanter, then you guys are not allowed to get into Turkey anymore,'" Kanter said.

Rep. Peter King says he was "very disappointed" that the Islamic Center backed down from the Turkish government.

Mike Balboni, spokesman for the mosque, tells News 12 that nobody at the Islamic Center was threatened. He says the event was postponed, not canceled because it started to become about politics.

The current Boston Celtic was on Capitol Hill Wednesday meeting with legislators about Turkey and how he can safely travel out of the country for NBA games. Kanter's Turkish passport was canceled two years ago and officials there have issued an arrested warrant for him after his criticism of the country's president.

Rep. Kathleen Rice asked Island Garden in West Hempstead if they would host the camp once it was no longer taking place at the Islamic Center.

"This is a great thing as far as I'm concerned," said Island Garden Executive Director Jim Fox, "We're very happy to have him."

Kanter says there will likely be security on site, and Fox says he will let police know about the event so everyone feels safe.

News 12 is still waiting to hear from the Turkish consulate regarding the incident.

 

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