"They've been holding us here for hours, by these two police [officers]," Kanter, who turned 25 on Saturday, said. "The reason behind it is just, of course, my political views, and the guy who did it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey."

According to sources, the NBA worked with the State Department to get Kanter to London late on Saturday, with Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford making calls on his behalf. Kanter is a citizen of Turkey, but he holds a green card to work in the U.S.

Kanter had a number of remaining stops left on his charity tour, but all have been canceled.

Tensions have been running between Kanter and his home country for years, escalating last summer when Kanter's father, Mehmet, announced the family was disowning Enes.

Kanter, who is one of the best basketball players ever from Turkey, has not played for the national team in years, saying in 2015 that was because of his outspoken views. National team coach Ergin Ataman said at the time that the decision to leave Kanter off was not political.

In July 2016, after speaking against Erdogan's government following a terrorist bombing in Turkey's capital of Ankara in March of that year, Kanter said he received death threats after a failed military coup to overthrow Erdogan. The NBA and the Oklahoma City Thunder communicated with the FBI following the incident, primarily during the Thunder's preseason trip to Spain last October.

Kanter is a known supporter of Fethullah Gulen, even suggesting last summer he might change his last name to Gulen, following his family's disownment.

Gulen is an Islamic leader and the face of the Gulen Movement. He lives in Pennsylvania after being exiled for more than 15 years, and he directly opposes Erdogan's regime. Erdogan blamed Gulen and his supporters for an attempted coup on the Turkish government last July.

 Royce YoungESPN Staff Writer