Backlash against Turkish mayor who posted tweet calling U.S. official a 'dumb blonde'

Washington (CNN)First we were all Americans. Then we were all Charlie Hebdo. Now we're all blonde.

At least, that's the newest form of solidarity being espoused by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, who posted a photo of himself with lightened hair Thursday after a Turkish official tweeted a picture that called a State Department spokeswoman a "dumb blonde."
Acting Spokeswoman Marie Harf had been targeted in a series of vitriolic tweets Wednesday by the outspoken mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, who blasted Harf in terms many view as sexist during a rant about the Obama administration's handling of the Baltimore protests.
In one of several tweets, he posted a screengrab from a Turkish online publication that included a picture of Harf and text that read "You were saying the Turkish police is using disproportionate force; where are you now, dumb blonde?"
    In turn, Bass posted a picture of himself on Instagram with his hair digitally altered to appear blond. The picture was accompanied by the caption "#American diplomats: we're all blonde" in both English and Turkish.

    #ABD'li diplomatlar: hepimiz #sarışınız. #American diplomats: we're all blonde.

    A photo posted by John Bass (@amerikanbuyukelcisi) on

    Bass also raised Gokcek's tweets with Turkish officials, as did Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, herself a former State Department spokeswoman, according to State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke.
    In his tweets, Gokcek challenged Harf to speak out about the Baltimore protests, saying it was hypocritical of her to stay silent given the State Department's criticism of Turkish police in 2013 following a violent crackdown on protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square and Gezi Park.
    The protest, which began over plans to turn the park into a mall, ultimately transitioned into demonstrations against the government of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Dozens were injured when police moved in to disperse the protestors using tear gas and water cannons.
    In another tweet, Gokcek wrote, "Blonde girl, the government's attitude was worrying when we had Gezi, now it's 'normal' for you to have a curfew.
    For her part, Harf told reporters she would not dignify the personal criticisms with a response on Wednesday, but she did address Gokcek's claims about the unrest in Baltimore.
    "I would put our record here in the U.S. of openly, transparently addressing challenges when we have them here at home up against any other countries on the planet," she said, and cited President Barack Obama's comments the day before condemning both the riots and their root causes.
    This is not the first time Harf has been targeted for her appearance.
    Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, wrote in February that Harf's glasses are "the smartest thing about her."
    Around the same time, the National Review referred to Harf and her then-colleague Jen Psaki as "the hapless PR duo" and "chuckleheaded cheerleaders."
    While Harf turned down the opportunity to respond to Gokcek's characterization of her this week, she was quick to defend Psaki after Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said the former spokeswoman "looks way out of her depth" and "doesn't look like she has the gravitas for the job."
    Harf took O'Reilly on via Twitter, saying ".@statedeptspox explains foreign policy w/ intelligence & class. Too bad we can't say the same about @oreillyfactor: http://bit.ly/WfVr6v"