Biden picks Republican ex-Sen. Jeff Flake as U.S. ambassador to Turkey
Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Speaks to reporters about President Donald Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill, Washington, May 10, 2017.
President Joe Biden appoints former Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona as his ambassador to Turkey, whose alliance with the United States has been marked by major disagreements on important foreign policy issues in recent years.
“I am honored and humbled by the confidence that President Biden has placed in me with this nomination for ambassador,” Flake wrote in a post on Medium.
“This is a crucial post at an important time for our two countries,” wrote the former senator.
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A administrative officer confirmed to NBC News that Biden planned to nominate Flake for the post.
Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in mid-June on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Both leaders left the bilateral meeting on positive remarks, but there was little evidence that the two nations were closer to overcoming their differences on a number of issues – including the multi-billion dollar deal from Ankara to buy a Russian surface-to-air- Missile system.
Flake, who had served in the House of Representatives for more than a decade and a single term in the Senate, had openly clashed with then-President Donald Trump before leaving Congress in 2019.
He supported Biden in the 2020 election over Trump and was expected to be offered a position in the Democratic administration.
Flake was a member of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He currently holds fellowship positions at Arizona State University and Brigham Young University and is a member of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Harvard Institute of Politics.
“Having served in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, I understand and appreciate the role of Congress in US foreign policy, and I look forward to this partnership,” Flake wrote on Medium.
“I also understand how important it is for America to speak with one voice. Having lived overseas, I deeply appreciate the indispensable role that the United States plays around the world. There is no substitute for the US leadership, ”he wrote.
“With this nomination, the Biden administration reaffirms the best tradition of American foreign policy and diplomacy: the creed that partisan policy should end on the water.”
“US foreign policy can and should be bipartisan. That is also my conviction and my commitment, ”wrote Flake.
His nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.
“I have had the pleasure to meet and work closely with Jeff Flake in a variety of ways while serving in the Senate,” Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Said in a statement, NBC reported. “I told him the president made an excellent choice.”
“Turkey has been an ally of the United States for many decades and the American people have great respect and fondness for the Turkish people and Turkey’s rich culture and history,” the Leahy statement said. “Our Relations with Turkey”[s] The government has been fraught with tensions over security issues and human rights policy in recent years. “
“Jeff is the perfect choice to work towards a more constructive relationship that would be good for our two countries, for the region and for the world,” said Leahy.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat who won Flakes Senate seat after leaving Congress, applauded the election of the Biden government.
Flake, 58, is not the first Republican to be elected as ambassador by Biden. Last month, the President nominated Cindy McCain, widow of Republican presidential candidate and former Senator John McCain, as US Ambassador to the United Nations World Food Program.
Cindy McCain, 67, had also backed Biden over Trump, who was often critical of John McCain before and after his death in 2018 at the age of 81.