Kanter, who’s Turkish and still has family members in Turkey, has been a vocal critic of Erdoğan’s for years. Turkey is a strategic ally for the U.S. as well as a fellow member of NATO.
The 27-year-old starts his piece by saying “when President Trump meets his Turkish counterpart at the White House on Wednesday he should make clear that U.S. support is not unconditional.”
“The alliance is becoming increasingly difficult to defend when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has placed so many strains on it.”
Kanter, who plays for the Boston Celtics, continues by mentioning Turkey’s recent military campaign into northern Syria, a move that was accelerated by President Trump withdrawing remaining U.S. troops from Syria’s northeastern border.
“I will leave the foreign-policy aspect to others; my aim is to draw attention to Erdogan’s mistreatment of his own people,” Kanter notes.
“Turkey’s most outspoken journalists and activists are languishing in prisons, media companies are either being shut down or cowed into submission, teachers are being jailed, civil society organizations are threatened and social media is heavily censored.”
Continuing, he says “the attacks on dissent are so arbitrary that anyone who offers even a mild criticism might see the inside of a prison cell.”
Kanter says he wants to “urge Trump to press Erdogan to stop cracking down on his political opposition and end his authoritarian abuses of Turkish citizens.”
Kanter then mentions his website “You Are My Hope,” where Kanter is attempting to gain “1 million signatures to raise awareness of the human rights abuses in my home country.”