Freedom, most recently of the Boston Celtics, is an outspoken activist who speaks poorly of the Turkish president as well as China, calling out what he called modern-day slavery and the treatment of Uyghurs in the communist country..
The 10 million Turkish lira bounty on Freedom's head equals approximately $530,000 USD. On the Turkish Interior Ministry website, he is listed as a member of a terrorist organization, under the gray category. According to a 2021 report in the Nordic Monitor, "suspects on the list [are] divided into five color-coded categories, with red designating the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and grey. There is no satisfying official explanation as to which color corresponds to what."
Freedom, speaking to the New York Post, says the bounty makes his life a lot more difficult and a lot more dangerous.
“That makes it so dangerous,” the 30-year-old said.
“Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money," Freedom added.
The towering forward also told the outlet that he is considering suing the NBA over allegedly blacklisting him for being outspoken against China, which holds huge corporate interests for the league.
“I’m waiting for the right time,” the player said. The ex-Boston Celtic says he remains in constant contact with federal authorities and is receiving 24-hour protection.
Freedom says he continues to speak out for others, not himself, and that the Turkish government hates when his statements make headlines.
“They’re really sick of it, and they said ‘enough is enough’ and are doing whatever they can to shut me up.”
“I’m speaking out because I am not the only one on that list,” Freedom said about the terrorist wanted list.
“There are so many journalists, so many activists, and so many athletes, but they aren’t as well-known as me. They are way easier targets — and they’re alone out there.”
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