Enes Kanter is a Turkish citizen who plays center for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
Like many professional athletes, Kanter has a couple of charities in his name.
His education fund provides first-year college scholarships to support selected US students – including a family’s first female child and children of law enforcement and firefighters who lost their lives on duty.
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Kanter’s other charity is the Light Foundation. This one has an international bent, providing meals and clothes to needy families.
A global tour with the Light Foundation stirred up Friday’s troubles.
After traveling to a few countries, Kanter and his team flew from Indonesia to Romania. But upon landing in Romania, Kanter found his passport cancelled by the Turkish embassy.
Kanter’s crime? His political views.
Enes Kanter has long been a vocal critic of Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, calling him the Hitler of our century.
Although not a Hitler, Erdogan is far from an angel.
In July 2016 when facing a coup, he ordered his forces to open fire on his own people, killing 270. He had another 50,000 arrested.
Last month in the country’s constitutional referendum, Erdogan consolidated greater power by the slimmest majority – 51% of the votes, if the vote count is to be believed.
With that victory, Erdogan has near dictatorial powers, which is why he was able to unilaterally suspend Kanter’s passport.
Last week, I wrote about Venezuela. There, government-sanctioned snipers scan the streets. Its starving, desperate citizens are trapped inside the country’s borders with no way out.
To Europeans and Americans, Turkey’s crackdown and Venezuela’s hell on earth are a world away from their comfortable lives.
But in the West, symptoms of government overreach that adversely impact its citizens’ futures are everywhere.
The war on cash continues unabated.
Near-zero interest rates return nothing on retirees’ life savings.
Easy credit ensures that any entrepreneur with a bozo idea receives funding. And it fuels both our insane stock market valuations and consumer debt to all-time highs.
US regulators crank out 150, 200, sometimes 300+ pages daily.
And then there’s the ballooning national debts of the Eurozone and the US.
It would be foolish to place all your faith and confidence in only one such government.
Enes Kanter’s experience with Turkey is the latest example. It shows how susceptible citizens are to an out of control government, even when traveling beyond its borders.
Whether locked inside borders like Venezuelans or locked out of travel like Kanter, these cases highlight the importance of having a Plan B.
A savings account in a well-capitalized foreign jurisdiction, investments outside the ridiculously valued stock market (e.g. Peer to Peer lending backed by real collateral), a second residence and yes, a second passport…these are steps to ensure that no matter what, you’ll be okay.
You’re not going to be worse off because you’re holding a significant amount of, say, Hong Kong dollars.
You’re not going to curse the fact that you receive steady and safe investment returns.
And you’re not going to worry about your ability to freely travel around the world.
Oh, and if what happened to Kanter seems impossible, consider this:
On December 30, 2015 when no one was looking, the US government passed H.R. 22 (The FAST Act), which authorizes them to revoke your passport if they believe, in their sole discretion, that you owe $50,000 in taxes.
It’s important to note that they don’t actually have to prove any wrongdoing.
They can make a simple allegation. It could even be a clerical error. Then, poof, no more passport.
It’s important to have a hedge against this to ensure that your entire life and livelihood isn’t held in the hands of a single government.