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Why Turkey has accused NBA player Enes Kanter of “terror” ties

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The Portland Trail Blazers still have to win four games to reach the NBA Finals. So do the Toronto Raptors.

But if that happens — and that’s a big if, as the Trail Blazers are already down a game to the reigning NBA champs the Golden State Warriors — the NBA playoffs could suddenly have some geopolitical implications.

That’s because Enes Kanter, the center for the Portland team, is currently the target of an Interpol “red notice” — basically, an arrest warrant — put out by the Turkish government.

Kanter is an outspoken and longtime critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his increasingly authoritarian policies. Kanter’s Turkish passport was revoked in 2017, and though he’s a reportedly a US green card holder, if he travels to Canada to compete, he could open himself up to arrest.

Again, the Trail Blazers are still a long way from reaching the NBA finals (as are the Raptors). But the potential matchup has already prompted Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to write to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask him and Canadian officials to “facilitate Mr. Kanter’s safe passage to and from Canada” if Portland and Toronto meet in the finals.

“I also urge your government to state publicly that it will not comply with any Interpol red notice meant to interfere with Kanter’s livelihood and to intimidate him and his family back in Turkey,” Wyden wrote.

A spokesperson for Canada’s minister for immigration told the Associated Press that it couldn’t comment on specific cases because of privacy reasons, but that “we are committed to ensuring that every case is assessed fairly, on its merits and in accordance with Canada’s laws.’’

But Kanter’s saga began long before the prospect of a playoff matchup at the end of the month — and his status as an NBA player has elevated his protest against Erdoğan’s anti-democratic crackdown, even as he finds himself a victim of it.

Who is Enes Kanter, and why is he battling with Turkey?

Enes Kanter, 26, is a Turkish basketball player (though he was born in Switzerland) who’s played professionally in the United States since 2011. He joined the Portland Trail Blazers in February 2019.

Kanter is a Muslim — he’s been very open about fasting during Ramadan during the NBA playoffs — and a devoted supporter of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric who preaches a moderate form of Sunni Islam. Education is a huge part of Gülen’s movement, and he and his adherents have helped establish schools in Turkey and abroad that preach his teachings.

Gülen has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999. But Erdoğan has accused him of orchestrating the failed July 2016 coup against him and his government. After the coup, Erdoğan demanded that the US extradite Gülen to Turkey to stand trial, despite little evidence that Gülen and his followers instigated the coup attempt.

Even so, Erdoğan purged thousands of suspected followers of Gülen from the armed forces, civil service, and the judiciary in the wake of the coup — and then continued to try to stamp out pretty much any form of dissent within the country.

In the nearly three years since the coup attempt, Erdoğan has awarded himself additional powers, which has effectively turned Turkey into an autocracy. He continues to quash any challenges to his authority; in March, an opposition candidate was elected Istanbul’s mayor, in an embarrassing blow to Erdoğan, whose ally lost the race. But in May, Turkey’s electoral commission voided the election and declared a new contest to be held in June.

Given all this, it’s not that surprising that Kanter’s ties to Gülen, and his criticism of Erdoğan’s power grab in recent years, have turned him into a target for Erdoğan.

Kanter vocally criticized Erdoğan after a terror attack in Ankara in 2016 and has continued to publicly blast the leader for his crackdown, calling him a dictator and the “Hitler of our Century.”

In May 2017, Kanter said he was detained in Romania after authorities told him his passport was invalid. He said that Turkey rescinded his passport because of his “political views.” He was eventually released and was able to get to London and then New York, reportedly with the help of the State Department.

In December 2017, the Turkish state-run news agency said prosecutors sought a four-year sentence for Kanter for insulting Erdoğan over Twitter in 2016. Kanter was also reportedly indicted in 2018 for making “hurtful and humiliating” comments about the head of the Turkish basketball league, who happens to be an ally of Erdoğan’s and has, incidentally, said some hurtful things about Kanter.

Kanter’s family also became a target for the Turkish leader, including his father, mother, and sister, who are still in Turkey. Kanter told the New York Times in January that he stopped communicating with them directly after his family home was raided in 2016.

But in the summer of 2018, the Turkish government indicted Kanter’s father on charges of being a member of a terrorist group. In an op-ed Kanter wrote for Time in September 2018, he said his outspokenness had directly endangered his father and the rest of his family:

If you speak out against Erdogan, it can affect your whole life and everyone around you. It has been too dangerous for me to set foot in Turkey for three years. The last time I visited, the government destroyed my brothers’ school and threw my dentist and his wife in prison. The regime arrested and charged a man for links to Gulen after I took a picture with his child, and went after a comedian after he exchanged a few tweets with me. Last year, Erdogan canceled my passport and put out an international warrant for my arrest. That means I am now stateless and pretty much can’t leave the United States. It’s interfering with my career, too.

Erdoğan’s targeting of Kanter has continued to affect the NBA player’s career. In January 2019, Kanter, then a member of the Knicks, refused to travel to London for a basketball game over fears that Erdoğan’s desire for retribution would endanger his life. (Other reports suggested a visa issue deterred Kanter’s travel, though Kanter denied this.)

But the same week that Kanter remained in the US as the rest of his team played in England, Turkey put out an extradition order over his so-called terrorism ties. Kanter denied the charges. “The only thing I terrorize is the rim,” he tweeted.

In March, after he’d joined the Trail Blazers, Kanter didn’t travel to Toronto for a regular-season game. Though he’d traveled there to play in the past, he said the combination of passport issues, death threats, and Erdoğan’s arrest warrant prompted him to sit out the game.

In Turkey, Kanter’s activism is effectively nonexistent. Erdoğan tightly controls the media, which repeatedly accuses Kanter of terrorist ties. It also censors his on-court performance. Earlier this month, the NBA cut ties with a Turkish company that ran the league’s Turkish Twitter account after it completely omitted any mention of Kanter’s performance (15 points, nine rebounds) in a playoff game against Denver in a recap tweet.

And Turkey’s S Sport station, which airs NBA games in Turkey, hasn’t broadcast any games since his indictment, according to Reuters. That’s one thing if it’s a Knicks game, but that’s now including Kanter’s Trail Blazers playoffs games against the Warriors. And if the Trail Blazers make it to the NBA finals, Turkish TV just won’t air those games either.

Kanter’s fight against Erdoğan highlights the death of democracy in Turkey

Erdoğan has held power in Turkey for 16 years. He first served as the country’s prime minister and then won the presidency in 2014. He is unlikely to relinquish his influence anytime soon, as he’s crushed dissent in the media, which included jailing hundreds of journalists and shuttering dozens of independent media outlets. He’s purged the civil service, military, and judiciary of his perceived enemies, with arrests totaling in the tens of thousands. He’s also bent the law to his will, altered the constitution to give himself broad authorities, and consolidated power in the executive branch.

Kanter, as a high-profile NBA player, is one of Turkey’s most famous athletes and an obvious target for Erdoğan. But this also means he has a platform to fight back against the president’s attacks.

“This is simple,” he told Religion News in an interview in March. “There are tens of thousands of innocent people in jail, people with limited or no voices, who cannot defend themselves. I am not a journalist or politician, but if I do not stand up for them, then who will?”

Kanter’s cause has found bipartisan support on Capitol Hill too. Wyden, an Oregon native and pretty serious Trail Blazers fan, has defended Kanter, including with his recent outreach to the Canadian officials. The basketball player has met with lawmakers about his situation, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

But the demise of democracy under Erdoğan has also complicated the US-Turkey relationship, leaving Washington with less leverage than it might once have had over its ally.

As Vox’s Alex Ward has reported, the strategic partnership between the two NATO allies has deteriorated in recent years — and it’s quite possible it could be beyond repair.

Erdoğan’s drive toward authoritarianism plays a role in this, as the Turkish president has abandoned “secular liberal politics in favor of Islamist political values, harbors anti-Western views, and has widened the US-Turkey gap,” as Ward wrote. And in rejecting the West, Erdoğan has inched closer to US foes such as Russia and China.

Tensions increased between the US and Turkey last year over the jailing of American Pastor Andrew Brunson, whom Turkey also accused of terrorist ties. The Trump administration imposed sanctions and tariffs against Turkey, dealing a substantial blow to its already struggling economy.

Erdoğan clearly hoped to hold out and trade Brunson for Gülen, but Brunson was released in October after the US and Turkey struck a deal, and Gülen remains in the US — so the sticking point between the US and Turkey remains. Erdoğan has also ramped up his anti-US rhetoric recently, which has helped keep tensions high.

Kanter’s continued support of Gülen means he’ll stay in Erdogan’s crosshairs for as long as the Turkish president remains in power — and Erdoğan intends that to be for a long, long time.

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DoorDash finally released more details about its new tipping policy

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A month after food delivery app DoorDash said it would change its controversial tipping policy, the company released more details about the planned changes — but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

In a company blog post on Thursday, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu gave a timeline and more details about when and how the company will change its pay model to stop effectively pocketing workers’ tips.

The announcement comes a few days after Recode first reported that the company had continued to pocket drivers’ tips despite promising drivers nearly a month ago that it would share more details on changes “in the coming days.”

In the post Thursday, Xu defended DoorDash’s original tipping policy — saying that in many cases the company boosted drivers’ pay when customers gave little or no tip. But the CEO also acknowledged that DoorDash’s model had “the unintended effect of making some customers feel like their tips didn’t matter.”

Many drivers have voiced outrage over the tipping policy, which is still in place for most workers.

“They’re still stealing tips,” DoorDash delivery person Dawnielle Turner recently told Recode. “I don’t think [the company] understands how many people rely on this as a primary source of income.”

As part of its new pay model, DoorDash said it will increase minimum base pay (from $1 to $2) and will offer more performance-based bonus options to its drivers.

There are still unanswered questions about what DoorDash’s pay policy changes will mean for workers. DoorDash did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here’s what we don’t know yet:

  • How exactly the pay model will change. The company says that its new pay model will result in higher average earnings for drivers, and that it will use a third party to verify that. That’s a good first step toward greater pay transparency, according to Sage Wilson, an organizer for labor advocacy group Working Washington.

But DoorDash still won’t give its drivers a breakdown with a tip amount for how much they will make for each delivery when they first accept an offer. Only once a job is done will drivers see how much they’ve been tipped. That means that drivers have to trust that the company isn’t factoring in a customer’s tip when it quotes them on base pay. To help clear this up, drivers have called for the company to disclose exactly how much it pays workers for distance travelled and time spent making deliveries. Competing delivery apps like Postmates and UberEats do this already, according to Wilson.

  • The date when these changes will become effective. The company said it will roll out the pay changes to all drivers next month, and it already starting to test the new model — but there’s still no exact date when it will be official. Considering the company has been slow to make changes at the same time that it has closed major acquisition deals and a new round of funding, workers have expressed frustration over the company’s opaque timelines when it comes to worker pay.
  • If it will provide back pay to its drivers. Many drivers have argued that they’re owed for the tips that DoorDash might have directed toward base pay in the past. When Instacart made similar changes to its tipping policy earlier this year, it retroactively compensated workers.

Overall, DoorDash’s announcement represents a win for drivers, labor advocates, and customers who have continued to pressure the company to change its pay practices. But it’s too early to say for sure if these changes will end up universally helping drivers.

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Digital Trends Live – 7.10.19 – Nintendo Switch Lite Confirmed + India May Ban Cryptocurrencies

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On today’s episode: Nintendo officially announced the much rumored Switch Lite; WarnerMedia makes HBO Max official, launching with Friends in 2020; India to ban cryptocurrencies – could impact Facebook’s Libra; team sets out to topple the land speed record; Overtock.com President joins to talk about their new A.R. feature; The best CPUs and GPUs on the market; Passwords vulnerability discussion with Keeper Security CEO; If you make a ton of PPT decks, you likely need a CMS – Shufflrr has you covered; Gaming Editor Felicia Miranda takes the cover off the Switch Lite and the best Prime Day deals to watch out for.

View at DailyMotion

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25 Users Showed How Different Instagram Is From Reality, and It Can Make You Way More Confident

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According to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Instagram is the most harmful social media for psychological health. Every day, we are disappointed when we start comparing our lives to the photos online without even thinking about how these perfect pictures were created. Fortunately, there are users who are ready to reveal what their lives look like without photoshop and filters.

Bright Side is happy to show the photos that will not only give you confidence, but will also improve your mood.

Before and after taken about 30 seconds apart

Nobody looks good in the morning.

Everything depends on the angle.

Trash looks bad no matter where it is.

“I love taking photos on the beach.”

It’s not just bodies and faces that get tune-ups on Instagram. The locals would be amazed to see the photo on the left.

Each successful photo actually means there were hundreds of failed attempts.

The photos I share vs The photos I’m tagged in

A black eye given by a unicorn

It appears that the rainbow is fake.

This is what’s behind a perfect life.

It’s always like this.

If people posted their real photos from the gym

10 minutes after cleaning and 10 hours later

Mud baths are attractive.

Behind the stage of perfect photo

Just imagine what the process looked like.

On hot days, you really need water-resistant makeup.

Before the party / after the party

When you are too hungry to arrange the food in a beautiful way:

This is the same girl.

There is something wrong with this photo.

Some people look like aliens in their photos.

It should be prohibited to tag people in photos.

Instagram vs Real-life motherhood

Do you prefer to post real or idealized photos?

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