President Joe Biden is nominating former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona as his ambassador to Turkey, whose alliance with the U.S. has in recent years been marked by major disagreements on key foreign policy issues.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination,” Flake wrote in a post on Medium.
“This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries,” the former senator wrote.
Flake, who served more than a decade in the House and a single term in the Senate, had clashed openly with then-President Donald Trump prior to leaving Congress in 2019.
He backed Biden over Trump in the 2020 election, and was expected to be offered a post in the Democrat’s administration.
Flake was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He currently holds fellowship roles at Arizona State University and Brigham Young University, and serves on the senior advisory committee at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
His nomination must be confirmed the Senate.
“I had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with Jeff Flake in several ways during his service in the Senate,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement, NBC News reported. “I told him that the President had made an outstanding 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 for Turkey’s rich culture and history,” Leahy’s statement said. “Our relations with Turkey'[s] government have been fraught in more recent years by tensions over security matters and human rights policies.”
“Jeff is a perfect choice to work toward a more constructive relationship that would be good for both of our countries, for the region, and for the world,” Leahy said.
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