Turkish former NBA star denies falling out with Erdogan

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Jan 12, 2021

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Former NBA star Hidayet Turkoglu has denied media reviews that he’s stepping down as the pinnacle of the Turkish Basketball Federation and was fired from his job as an adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for refusing to move his fortune from the United States to Turkey.

Turkoglu responded to the claims through Twitter, saying he would proceed in his twin roles as a chief adviser to Erdogan — one he was exercising “with great pride” — and as federation head. Turkoglu blamed the rumors on putative rivals in search of to dethrone him in upcoming federation elections.

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The opposition each day Cumhuriyet, citing sources near Erdogan, claimed strain on Turkoglu to switch his alleged 150 million-euro fortune to Turkey had come from the Turkish chief himself. When Turkoglu declined to conform, he bought the boot and was on the point of move again to the United States.

Turkey stays within the grip of an enormous overseas forex crunch after flooding the markets with greater than $150 billion over the previous two years. The ill-conceived coverage to spice up the worth of the Turkish lira not solely failed however price Erdogan’s former finance minister and son-in-law Berat Albayrak his job.

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It is directly a measure of the extent of Turkey’s financial woes and of the Turkish chief’s demand for absolute loyalty that the story was considered credible and was a high pattern on Turkish Twitter for a lot of the day.

The ethnic Bosnian ahead, who performed for six NBA groups throughout his 15-season profession (amongst them the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers), is amongst a circle of sports activities personalities who’re staunch defenders of the Turkish president, together with German Turkish soccer star Mesut Ozil. The midfielder for the UK’s premier league Arsenal drew sharp criticism in 2018 after placing pleasant poses with Erdogan throughout a public occasion in London. He resigned from the German nationwide crew quickly after, citing “racist” reactions to his look with the Turkish chief, who used play professionally in a minor Istanbul league.

But there are different globally acclaimed Turkish sports activities celebrities batting for the other crew. Enes Kanter of the Portland Trail Blazers is an overt disciple of Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Sunni preacher who’s accused of masterminding the failed 2016 coup to violently overthrow Erdogan. Gulen denies the fees, although there may be visible proof, amongst different incriminating particulars, displaying a number of of his associates on the Ankara airbase on the night time the putsch unfolded. The United States has to date spurned calls for for his extradition on the grounds that the proof offered by Ankara towards him is inadequate to warrant such motion.

Kanter and former Turkish nationwide soccer squad captain Hakan Sukur, a fellow Gulen devotee who additionally resides within the United States, are additionally formally wished by Turkey. Their Turkish citizenship has been revoked.

Sukur, who was elected to parliament in 2011 from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, informed a German newspaper final yr that Erdogan had “taken everything” from him, seizing all his property on the grounds that he had supported the coup financially. He now drives for Uber and sells books to make ends meet.

Kanter urged the incoming Joe Biden administration in a Jan. 12 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal “to help the Turkish people restore their democracy” and asserted that “slapping sanctions on Turkey for buying Russia’s S-400 missile system is a good to start to wean Turkey away from Russia.” Kanter went so far as to recommend that the United States ought to assist speed up Turkey’s monetary meltdown with the intention to expedite Erdogan’s political demise.

Unsurprisingly, Kanter and Turkoglu are usually not on good phrases and don’t disguise their mutual dislike. Kanter has referred to as Turkoglu a “lapdog” who was being financially rewarded for his sycophancy. Turkoglu has in flip accused Kanter of mounting a “smear marketing campaign” towards his native nation by falsely portraying himself as a sufferer. “He is trying to get the limelight with irrational justification and political remarks,” Turkoglu charged.

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