President Joe Biden on Tuesday appointed former Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican lawmaker who approved his White House candidacy in 2020, as US ambassador to Turkey.
Flake served in the Arizona United States Senate from 2013 to 2019 and in the United States House from 2001 to 2013.
Flake retired from the Senate at the end of his term in 2019, saying he was out of step with the Republican Party during the days of former President Donald Trump. He then wrote a book, âConscience of a Conservative,â which was a critique of Trump.
âWith this appointment, the Biden administration reaffirms the best tradition of American foreign policy and diplomacy: the credo that partisan politics must stop at the water’s edge. American foreign policy can and should be bipartisan, âFlake said in a statement. âIt is also my conviction and my commitment. “
Flake was one of more than two dozen former Republican lawmakers to announce their support for “Republicans for Biden.”
Former Reps Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania and Jim Leach of Iowa, and Senator John Warner of Virginia, who died in May, are among the former Republican lawmakers who endorsed Biden last year.
The White House also announced on Tuesday that Biden would be hiring career senior foreign service officer Kent Logsdon to serve as ambassador to Moldova.
Flake, if confirmed, will be sent to Ankara at a difficult time in US-Turkish relations.
The list of disagreements is unusually long for the two NATO allies: there is US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, as well as Turkey’s purchase of a Russian weapons system. And in April, Biden infuriated Ankara by declaring that the Ottoman-era massacres and deportations of Armenians were “genocide.”
Previous US presidents had avoided using the term for fear it would complicate relations with Turkey, which is fiercely proud of its Ottoman history and insists that those killed in the early 20th century were victims of the civil war and unrest.
The Biden administration and Turkish government officials are also currently in talks over Turkey’s security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after the United States completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan later this summer.
Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said Flake is well positioned to serve as Biden’s senior envoy to Turkey at a critical time in the relationship.
âJeff is a perfect choice to work towards a more constructive relationship that would be good for both of our countries, for the region and for the world,â Leahy said.
Flake would succeed David Satterfield, a well-respected career foreign service officer who served as the United States’ ambassador to Turkey for more than two years.
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