The New York Knicks will be without centre Enes Kanter for their upcoming trip to London against the Washington Wizards on January 17.
Following the Knicks' 117-112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, Kanter spoke on the topic to the media.
"Sadly, I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president," Kanter stated. "It's pretty sad that all the stuff affects my career and basketball, because I want to be out there and help my team win. But just because of the one lunatic guy, one maniac, one dictator, I can't even go out there and do my job. It's pretty sad."
Kanter is referencing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who put out an international warrant for Kanter's arrest back in 2017 after Kanter spoke negatively on the President's behalf. Kanter has also received death threats for his Turkish political stance.
"They've got a lot of spies there," Kanter continued. "I think I can get killed there easy. It would be a very ugly situation."
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE pic.twitter.com/v3qHvHsibF- Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 5, 2019
New York's big man plans to stay behind and practice during his team's trip. He also confirmed the only country he can travel to is Canada because his passport was revoked by the Turkish government.
The Knicks will have to look elsewhere to make up for Kanter's 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He has 23 double-doubles in 39 games this season, one shy of cracking the top-10 in the NBA.