Umit Enginsoy

Hurriyet Daily News
Aug 3, 2011

The United States' ambassador to Ankara, Frank Ricciardone, late
Wednesday appeared before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee
for his second confirmation hearing, but the committee will not decide
on his fate until September.

President Barack Obama last year nominated Ricciardone for
the Ankara job, but right-wing Republican Senator Sam Brownback
effectively blocked him. All senior administration officials, including
ambassadors, need to be confirmed by the Senate with only one senator's
objection being sufficient to prevent confirmation.

In Wednesday's hearing pro-Armenian Democratic Senator Robert Menendez
pushed Ricciardone on Armenian-related matters. When Menendez asked
him if the U.S. had ever denied the "Armenian genocide," Ricciardone
replied: "I stand behind President Obama's characterization of the
'Medz Yeghern' [great calamity], as the Armenians themselves call it,
the tragic murder of a million and a half men, women and children
who were marched to their deaths in 1915. But I stand behind our
characterization of that and our efforts of what we are trying to
do now."

If Ricciardone passes the committee hurdle, then his nomination will
go to a vote in the full Senate. Under U.S. law, if Ricciardone also
this time fails to win the Senate's confirmation before the end of
this year, his post as ambassador to Ankara will end