Obama administration stands behind ‘authoritarianism’ remarks made by new US ambassador to Ankara
AA PhotoThe Obama administration has defended remarks made by John Bass, who has been nominated as the new U.S. ambassador to Ankara, after he said Turkey is “drifting in the direction” of authoritarianism.
“Let me say that his comments were consistent with the concerns we have previously expressed, including in the annual Human Rights Report. We remain committed to supporting democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in Turkey. And when they’re not met, we certainly express our concerns, and that’s true in many countries around the world,” Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, told reporters during a daily briefing on July 16.
“Ambassador Bass will serve as a strong voice in support of democratic principles in Turkey. I worked very closely with him and I can’t think of a better representative for the United States, and I can assure you that when he’s confirmed, I think the people of Turkey will see that as well,” Psaki added.
Bass faced a series of tough questions from Senator John McCain during his hearing at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations over his nomination as ambassador to Turkey on July 15. Senator McCain said he would not support Bass’ nomination until he got a straight answer on whether he thought Turkey was drifting towards authoritarianism.
“It is a drift in that direction, yes,” Bass eventually replied.