Turkey blocks NBA games featuring Erdogan-critic player

Kanter, a member of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, is a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 May 2019
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Turkey blocks NBA games featuring Erdogan-critic player

  • Turkey’s broadcasters have ignored Kanter’s games since he was indicted last year by a Turkish court
  • Kanter, a member of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, is a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

DUBAI: Turkish sports broadcaster, S Sport, has blocked the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) western conference finals between Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors from being screened due to the former’s center Enes Kanter.

“I can say clearly that we will not be broadcasting the Warriors-Blazers series,” S Sport commentator Omer Sarac told Reuters. “Furthermore, if Portland makes it to the finals, [that] will not be broadcast either… this situation is not about us, but it is what it is.”

Kanter, a member of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, is a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A warrant for his arrest has been issued by the Turkish government for alleged terrorism charges, and his passport was canceled in 2017.

“All these NBA fans, they want to watch the Western Conference finals, but they can’t all because of me. It’s funny and crazy. [The Turkish government] is afraid of an NBA player,” Kanter said in a phone interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday.

“I’m not a politician. It’s not my job, but everyone is so scared of Erdogan that I have to step up and speak out for freedom and human rights. It shows it’s a dictatorship in Turkey.”

Although Kanter is Turkey’s most successful basketball player ever, he is considered to be an “enemy of the country,” and Turkey’s broadcasters have ignored Kanter’s games since he was indicted last year by a Turkish court. 

In response, the NBA scrapped its contract with the local vendor running the Turkish Twitter account.

Basketball’s popularity is second only to soccer among Turkey’s 82 million people.

“It is mind-blowing that a conference final will not be broadcast in Turkey,” said Mete Aktas, a well-known Turkish NBA commentator and former chief editor of NBA Turkey magazine.

(With Reuters)


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’