President Joe Biden tapped a former Republican senator to become the next US ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday.
Jeff Flake, who was an Arizona senator from 2013 to 2019, posted remarks confirming his appointment. “Given the strategic importance of the United States’ relationship with our long-time NATO Ally, the Republic of Turkey, I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination,” Flake said in a statement.
“This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries. Cheryl and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve, and eager to get to know the extraordinary people of Turkey,” the former senator said.
But Flake broke ranks with former President Donald Trump and supported Biden during the 2020 presidential elections.
On Tuesday, Flake, who also served in the House, praised Biden.
“With this nomination, the Biden Administration reaffirms the best tradition of American foreign policy and diplomacy: the credo that partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge. US foreign policy can and should be bipartisan,” he said.
If confirmed, the Republican politician will face the tall task of repatching ties between Washington and Ankara that have soured under the Biden administration.
The Trump administration slapped sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system before the Biden administration recognized the Armenian Genocide, which the Ottoman Empire carried out.