Republican senator blocking Trump's pick for Turkey ambassador

A Republican U.S. senator has placed a hold on President Donald Trump’s pick to be the new U.S. ambassador to Turkey over a dispute with the State Department regarding a new terrorism bill, the Hill reported on Friday.

Trump, officially nominated David Satterfield to be the next U.S. ambassador to Turkey and his nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month.

Senator Chuck Grassley has been blocking the nomination due to Satterfield’s role in trying to negotiate changes to the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, a bill sponsored by Grassley, the Hill said. 

The bill allows groups, namely the Palestinian Authority, to be sued in federal court if they accept U.S. foreign aid.

The U.S. Senate’s majority leader Republican Mitch McConnell could break Grassley's hold by filing cloture on Satterfield, the Hill said. 

The role of U.S. ambassador to Turkey has been vacant since October 2017, when Turkey announced it no longer recognised the previous ambassador, John R. Bass, during a diplomatic spat between the countries.

Satterfield is a career member of the senior Foreign Service and has been the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs since 2017.