Ankara’s mayor has fallen under scrutiny for comments that he made to the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. Naharnet said that mayor made sexist comments almost sounding as if he was calling her a dumb blonde and focusing too much on the fact that she is blonde. The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, fired back at Ankara’s mayor by taking a picture of himself with either a blond wig or a dye job and stating that we are all blondes indicating that it really does not make a difference.
Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek who is a close friend and ally to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made comments on Twitter about the Baltimore rioting and pretty much demanded that Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf do something about the situation and speak up. He even called her a stupid blonde and expressed anger over her previous statements about the Turkish police using inappropriate force. He called her out about how she is criticizing Turkish police when Baltimore is having so many issues and things are so out of control, the article on Naharnet went on.
Harf even stated in interviews that she does not want to dignify his comments with a response. She said she does not want to take the bait, she just wants to stay out of it and not cause additional drama with him. The U.S. ambassador to Turkey jumped to her defense and posted a picture of himself on Instagram with blond hair and he usually has brown hair. He wrote in Turkish and English about how we are all blond to make a statement. It remains unclear whether he actually dyed his hair or used Photoshop but regardless he was trying to make a point.
The Ankara mayor Gokcek who has been in this position since 1994 has earned a reputation for firing off on anyone on Twitter and other social media who dares to oppose him or say anything that he does not agree with. The Naharet article said that he defended his comments by stating that his wife is a blonde so his comments should not be construed as sexist.He added that his comments had nothing to do with gender or how a person looks, he just made them to get his point across. He snapped back at the U.S. ambassador to Turkey by stating that he could recommend a hairdresser for him in Turkey if he wishes.
The mayor who has earned the nickname Mad Melih by his opposers received flack this month after having a massive statue of a robot put in the center of Ankara to promote a brand new theme park. The statue was just taken down but the controversy continues. The mayor in retaliation placed a huge T-Rex in its place.
Bass has brought up Ankara mayor Gokcek’s tweets with Turkish officials. He also did the same with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs who is named Victoria Nuland. Victoria Nuland is a former State Department spokeswoman. Back in 2013 the State Department had made critical comments against Turkish police over strict measures taken on protestors in Istanbul. These protestors held their protest in Taksim Square and Gezi Park. The Ankara mayor felt that after Harf and the Department had shown so much criticism toward Turkish police, he could not believe that she would not even respond to his comments over the handling of the situation in Baltimore.
During the 2013 protest in Turkey things got very out of hand and many were injured when police had to intervene with tear gas and water canons. The protest began over plans to turn a park into a mall according to CNN. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned in majorly violent behavior against the government and its officials CNN continued. The Ankara mayor pointed out to Harf that the U.S. and her in particular criticized the actions taken by them against protestors and now Baltimore has to have a curfew because the people got so out of hand.
The Ankara Mayor does not understand Harf’s silence in the face of the Baltimore riots after she had been so vocal following the situation in Turkey in 2013. Despite the backlash he is receiving for his behavior and comments, the Ankara mayor is determined for his voice to be heard as mentioned on Yahoo News. Harf wishes to remain silent and the Ankara mayor is basically challenging her to respond.
By Heather Granruth