WASHINGTON (A.W.)—While the Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback will not say why he placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Turkey, a spokesman at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told Fox News today, “I’m not going to get into it. It’s all about Armenia.”
According to the Congressional Record, Brownback made the following statement: “I rise today to inform the body that I have placed a hold on Executive Calendar nomination No. 1051, the nomination of Ambassador Frank Ricciardone to be ambassador to the Republic of Turkey.”
Over the years, Brownback has co-sponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution in Congress.
According to Fox News, when asked whether the Obama Administration should take on the issue of a Genocide Resolution in order to get Riccardione confirmed, a State Department spokeswoman said, “The administration puts forth the best candidate for the position. We will see what the outcome is.”
Senators are allowed to block (typically called a “hold”) the adoption of presidential nominees for senior governmental posts. Brownback has yet to offer a public explanation of why he took this action.
“Senator Brownback’s hold on Francis Ricciardone’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to Turkey underscores the challenges the administration is facing as it seeks to manage an increasingly complex, strained, and unpredictable U.S.-Turkey relationship,” said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America. “More broadly, this action highlights the pressing need for the U.S. Congress—and all concerned elements of American civil society—to carefully reexamine whether our national interests and international standing are served by constantly caving in to Turkey on human rights, regional security, and genocide denial.”