Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter slammed freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Tuesday night after she became the only Democrat in the House who did not vote for a bill to place economic sanctions on Turkey for its incursion into Syria targeting the U.S.-Kurdish allies in the area.
Kanter tweeted, “What an absolute disappointment and shame that the only democrat who did NOT support the Turkish bill aiming to stop the killing of innocent people is @IlhanMN who seems like on #DictatorErdogan ‘s payroll working for his interests, but not for the American people and democracy!”
The NBA star is a vocal critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's human rights record. Kanter was indicted by a Turkish court last year on charges of belonging to an armed terrorist group, which he denies.
The bill punishing Turkey for its invasion of northern Syria and illustrating both parties’ dismay with President Donald Trump’s retreat from the region sailed easily through the House on Tuesday.
The bill marks both parties’ latest show of disapproval for Trump’s decision this month to abandon the United States’ longtime Kurdish allies against Islamic State fighters by pulling American forces away from northern Syria.
- Syria invasion: U.S. House backs Turkey sanctions, recognizes Armenian genocide
- Turkey summons U.S. ambassador after House recognizes Armenian genocide and condemns Syria incursion
The measure also underscores lawmakers’ wariness of the cease-fire that Vice President Mike Pence struck with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of the subsequent agreement between Turkey and Russia splitting control of the territory .
Despite Congress’ acrimonious partisan divisions over Democrats’ impeachment investigation of Trump, lawmakers approved the Syria sanctions by a lopsided 403-16. Republicans supported the measure 176-15. Trump has declared victory in the region, saying the U.S. has little at stake in its conflicts. Critics say his moves have bolstered Turkish, Iranian and Russian sway in the area, jeopardized efforts to contain the Islamic State group and reduced U.S. leverage there.