Turkey has placed basketball player Enes Freedom on its terrorist wanted list.
Freedom appears on what the Turkish Interior Ministry calls the “Grey List,” the lowest of its five-tier color-coded system, which offers a reward of up to about $26,600 (500,000 Turkish lira).
It is not clear when Turkey added Freedom to the list, but he told Fox News on Tuesday that he learned about it while he was at the Vatican for a basketball camp, and that after contacting the FBI, he was told he should return to the United States.
“This is the first time actually the Turkish government put a bounty on my head and put me on the most wanted terrorist list, just because I talk about some of the human rights violations and political prisoners happening in Turkey,” Freedom told Fox News. “And you know, I’m not the only one. There are so many journalists, academics, professors and celebrities are on that list.”
Freedom has been a critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s human rights record, and he has called on the Biden administration and other Western and NATO leaders to take action.
Turkey issued an arrest warrant for him in 2019, accusing him of being a member of a terrorist group for his ties to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey blamed Gulen for a failed 2016 coup, which Gulen denies.
Freedom grew up in Turkey and changed his named from Enes Kanter after becoming a U.S. citizen in 2021. Turkey canceled his passport in 2017.
He played 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association, most recently in 2022 with the Boston Celtics.
In addition to speaking out against the Turkish government, Freedom has also criticized China’s human rights record, including its treatment of Tibet and the Uyghur people.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.