Celtics’ Enes Kanter Blasts Ilhan Omar for Refusal to Support Turkey Sanctions

Ilhan Omar
Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter took aim at Democrat Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, for her refusal to support a bill that would impose economic sanctions on Turkey for its attacks on Kurdish forces.

Kanter, who grew up under the oppressive Turkish regime and has been the object of Turkish criticism since he came to the U.S. to join the NBA, slammed Omar’s reticence to support the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act, according to the New York Post.

The Celtics star said that Omar’s vote was “an absolute disappointment and shame,” and even accused Omar of acting as an agent of Turkey.

Kanter said it seemed like Omar was on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s payroll and “working for his interests, but not for the American people and democracy!”

Omar was one of the few in the House who refused to support the bipartisan bill which was passed overwhelmingly in the House with a 403-16 vote on October 29.

The sanctions against Turkey for its attacks on the Kurds was not the only measure against Turkey that Omar refused to support this week. Omar also refused to support a measure that affirmed that Turkey committed genocide against its Armenian minority population in 1915.

Rep. Omar released a statement explaining why she did not vote in favor of the bill.

“A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include … earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country,” Omar said.

Omar was one of three lawmakers to vote “present,” along with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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