Enes Kanter, a Turkish citizen who is a six-year veteran of the N.B.A., found himself in an apparent political tussle on Saturday that began at a Romanian airport and ended hours later, in London, with Kanter proclaiming on Twitter that he would continue on to New York to hold a news conference on Sunday with “lots of things to say.”
What he seems certain to talk about is his outspoken opposition to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and how that stance seemed to have led to Saturday’s chain of events, in which the N.B.A. ultimately asked for the State Department’s help in assisting Kanter.
The day started with Kanter, a 6-foot-11 center for the Oklahoma City Thunder, saying in a video posted on Twitter that he had been detained at the Bucharest airport, with the authorities telling him that his passport had been canceled.
Kanter said his political opposition to Turkey’s president was the reason for the detention. Hours later, the Romanian authorities said he was free to go.
In an interview with The New York Times, Fabian Badila, a spokesman for the Romanian border police, said Kanter had arrived in Romania on a flight from Frankfurt at about 1 p.m. on Saturday. “My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid,” Badila said, “that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country.”
Badila added, in reference to Kanter: “At around 5 p.m., he left the airport on a flight to London. 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.”
Later on Saturday, Kanter posted a message on Twitter saying that he was safe in London, with New York his next stop. “Got lots of things to say with lots of crazy stories,” he wrote.
The N.B.A. said it had worked with the State Department to ensure Kanter’s release in Romania.
As to the status of his passport, and why he was allowed to travel to London without a valid one, no official announcements have been made. But in an interview with The Oklahoman, Hadis Fetic, an executive assistant for Kanter, said that the Turkish government has been known to report citizens’ passports as stolen or missing in order to have them confiscated in foreign countries and that Fetic believes that is what happened with Kanter’s passport.