Ex-NBA player raised in Turkey slams Twitter censorship: 'I don't want to hear about Elon Musk talking about free speech ever again. He's literally bowing down to a dictatorship'

  • Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom doesn't want to hear Elon Musk talk about free speech.

  • The Turkish-American said Musk is "bowing down to a dictatorship" by blocking tweets in Turkey.

  • Twitter restricted access to some content in the country ahead of the May 14 presidential election.

Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom had some harsh words for Twitter owner Elon Musk for censoring some content in Turkey days before the country's presidential election, which took place over the weekend.

Freedom was born in Switzerland, but was raised in Turkey until he moved to the US at age 17 to play high school basketball. He changed his last name from Kanter in 2021 when he officially became a US citizen.

"I don't want to hear about Elon Musk talking about free speech ever again," Freedom said on CNN This Morning. "He's literally bowing down to a dictatorship."

"Turkish government called Elon to pretty much tell him, 'If you don't ban a couple accounts, then we are going to shut down the whole app in Turkey,'" Freedom added. "He picked business and money over his morals and principles."

Twitter's global government affairs account tweeted on May 12, "In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today." In another tweet, the account said restricted tweets would still be available for the rest of the world.

Following backlash among some for the move, Twitter's global government affairs tweeted an update a day after the election, saying that the company has objected to court orders against it from the Turkish government, but without the ability to resolve the issue in the courts before the election, "took action on four accounts and 409 Tweets identified by court order."

Musk, a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist," defended the decision, saying that "the choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets."

Musk said the decision "is par for the course for all Internet companies – we are just going to be clear that it's happening, unlike the others."

Freedom, an outspoken critic of Turkey's incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went on CNN to talk about Turkey's presidential election. The election, which took place on May 14, has gone to a runoff between conservative Erdogan who has been in power for 20 years, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition secular center-left Republican People's Party. It will take place on May 28.

"The whole country is saying enough is enough because we want to go back to democracy and freedom again," Freedom said on CNN.

Neither Musk nor representatives for Freedom responded to Insider's request for comment. Twitter replied with an automated message that did not address Insider's question.

The former NBA player has openly criticized China and Nike for allegations that the company uses Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang region. He also criticized NBA star Lebron James for his work with Nike, and said he wanted to "educate him" about working with the brand. Freedom has become popular among conservatives for speaking out against China.

Freedom played in the NBA for 11 years. He played for the Boston Celtics, before being traded to the Houston Rockets, where he was released and is now a free-agent.

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