Enes Kanter to Return to U.S. After Romanian Detainment

A spokesman for the Romanian Border Police has confirmed Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Enes Kanter was released from a Romanian airport in Bucharest after being detained Saturday. Much like the initial news of his passport cancelation, Kanter announced his impending return to the U.S. via London with a tweet.

“All good baby!” Kanter tweeted. “Gonna give press conference tomorrow in NY. Got lots of things to say with lots of crazy stories. Be ready!!! Ohhh Yeeahhh.”

While speaking exclusively with the New York Times, Fabian Badila of the Romanian Border Police gave a more detailed account of what caused Kanter to spend the better part of his twenty-fifth birthday in an airport with two security guards.

“Today, at around 1:00 p.m. local time, an individual arrived from Frankfurt,” Badila told the Times. “My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid, that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country.”

Badila’s account at least partially corroborates Kanter’s account that Turkey canceled his passport. However, Kanter took things further by specifically blaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for canceling his passport due to his political views. Badila also refuted Kanter’s account of the incident being a detainment.

“At around 5:00 p.m., he left the airport on a flight to London,” Badila said. “While he was at the airport, he wasn’t detained or locked up, he was allowed to wander around, but he couldn’t enter the country.”

Kanter did indeed post a picture of himself inside the airport posing with the two guards assigned to keep him from exiting. 

While Kanter has made headlines for his political views, he has flourished on the court with Oklahoma City. Last season, he was one of the NBA’s top reserves and finished third on the ballot for the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award while averaging 14.3 points per game.