Enes Kanter Changes His Name To “Freedom”
So happy is pro NBA player Enes Kanter about becoming a US citizen, that he’s legally changed his name to “Enes Kanter Freedom”.
Born in Switzerland and raised in Turkey, the star is outspoken about human rights violations committed by Turkey and China.
On Monday, during his US citizenship ceremony, Kanter recited the oath using his new name. According to the Boston Celtics star, his new name intends to reflect his life-long struggle and fight for freedom.
Land Of The Free
During an interview with CNN, Kanter explained how in the US, unlike in Turkey, freedom is a part of everyday life. There’s freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, and of expression, he explained.
Freedom, he said, is humankind’s greatest gift, which is why he had decided to make the word a part of him and take it wherever he goes.
Kanter’s name change was sworn in at the same time as his citizenship ceremony. During the proceedings, the judge reportedly addressed him by his new name. He afterwards also waved a small US flag in the air while signing his naturalisation papers.
His New Name Already In Use
Going forward, his new name will appear on his jersey. According to Kanter, his Boston Celtics teammates have already taken to calling him by his new name.
Since moving to the US in 2009, Kanter has publicly criticized human rights violations in Turkey and China. In October, his name was wiped from social media pages in China after he referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as nothing more than a “brutal dictator”.
At the time, Kanter told his followers on social media that his message to the Chinese government was to free Tibet. The region belongs to Tibetans, he explained, and not to China and the Chinese. Kanter has also been an outspoken critic about the Chinese government’s unethical and inhumane treatment of the Uyghur people. To this end he has also been arguing for the world to boycott the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
China And Turkey React
China’s foreign ministry seems to think Kanter is only trying to get attention with his controversial statements.
But the NBA champion has also called out the Turkish president for being a dictator of the people. In 2019, Turkey lashed back by issuing an international warrant for his arrest. Local authorities had accused him of having had ties with those groups involved in the thwarted 2016 coup of the Turkish government.
Kanter has denied all allegations relating to his involvement.