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Senior U.S. Diplomat Raises ‘Dumb Blonde’ Incident with Turkish Officials

The State Department has responded with a mix of opprobrium and humor after the mayor of Turkey’s capital city referred to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as a “stupid blonde” for criticizing the way Turkish police tactics handled a 2013 demonstration.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland gestures as she speaks during her press conference in Tbilisi on February 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VANO SHLAMOV        (Photo credit should read VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland gestures as she speaks during her press conference in Tbilisi on February 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VANO SHLAMOV (Photo credit should read VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland gestures as she speaks during her press conference in Tbilisi on February 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VANO SHLAMOV (Photo credit should read VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The State Department has responded with a mix of opprobrium and humor after the mayor of Turkey’s capital city referred to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as a “stupid blonde” for her selective criticisms of police brutality.

Playing bad cop was Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, who “raised the inappropriate comment with Turkish officials,” a Foggy Bottom spokesman said Friday.

Playing good cop, or perhaps more accurately, the jester cop, was John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram with his brunette hair Photoshopped to appear blonde under the caption: “American diplomats: we’re all blonde.”

The State Department has responded with a mix of opprobrium and humor after the mayor of Turkey’s capital city referred to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf as a “stupid blonde” for her selective criticisms of police brutality.

Playing bad cop was Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, who “raised the inappropriate comment with Turkish officials,” a Foggy Bottom spokesman said Friday.

Playing good cop, or perhaps more accurately, the jester cop, was John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram with his brunette hair Photoshopped to appear blonde under the caption: “American diplomats: we’re all blonde.”

Bass’s jocular act of solidarity came in response to Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, who took to social media earlier this week to blast the State Department’s perceived hypocrisy regarding police brutality in Baltimore.

Harf, along with other State Department officials, had criticized Turkey’s heavy-handed response to protests in Istanbul back in 2013. In light of this week’s protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Gokcek, a prominent member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, tweeted a picture of Harf from a pro-government newspaper under the headline “Where are you, dumb blond, who said Turkish police used disproportionate force?”

Gokcek added a comment in English: “Come on blonde, answer now…”

When asked about the incident Thursday during a media briefing, Harf said: “I really don’t think I’m going to dignify them with a response.”

Getty Images

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