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Enes Kanter: Criticisms of Turkish government limit endorsements

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter said that Nike and other companies have shied away from signing him to endorsement deals because of his outspoken criticisms of the Turkish government.

"Outside of the court, I make almost no money because of all the Turkish stuff," Kanter said Monday, according to published reports. "Most companies are scared to give me any contract because of what's going on in Turkey."

Kanter, who grew up in Turkey, is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year's failed military coup. He has repeatedly criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter based on accusations of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.

Kanter said, according to reports, that his issues with the government led to a breakdown in negotiations with Nike on an endorsement deal because the company was worried about losing business in Turkey.

Kanter is close to hiring agent Mark Bartelstein, the CEO of Priority Sports, to aid in pursuing endorsement opportunities.

"If I had an agent, maybe I'll get some Chinese shoe company or Filipino or whatever," Kanter said, per reports. "That's why I'm signing with him. That's the reason."

Kanter also said, according to reports, that some agents were hesitant to work with him for fear of how it might impact potential clients in Turkey.

"I'm lucky to have one agent," said Kanter, who is averaging 14 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. "I haven't signed with him yet."

Kanter, 25, also has to decide on his $18.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season. He has said he wants to remain with the Knicks.

ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.