US Senate confirms John Bass as ambassador to Turkey
WASHINGTONThe U.S. Senate has finally confirmed John Bass as the new United States ambassador to Ankara.
Bass, who was nominated in June but had his nomination held up by the Senate until after the August recess, was approved on Sept. 17 by a vote of 98 to 0. There are 100 members of the Senate.
He served as U.S. ambassador to Tbilisi from 2009 to 2012. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Bass led the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team from 2008-2009. From 2005 to 2008, he served as director of the State Department Operations Center. During his tenure, the Operations Center led the response to over 25 crises, including coordinating international assistance in response to Hurricane Katrina and orchestrating the largest U.S. government evacuation of American citizens in 60 years.
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 back on July 15. 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.
The Obama administration has been critical of the Senate for holding up the nominations for 65 posts, 43 of which are career diplomats, including Bass. According to the State Department statistics, 39 of the 65 nominations are pending in the Senate while 26 are in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Around three quarters of the nominations have been waiting for approval since last year.
Because Bass' nomination was not approved earlier, the U.S. was represented by the charge d'affaires at the inauguration ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in August.