Biden nominates former Republican Senator and CBS contributor Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey after US inflamed tensions with Erdogan for recognizing the Armenian Genocide

 President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Jeff Flake, a former Republican senator who crossed party lines to back his 2020 campaign for the White House, to serve as U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

Flake, 58, left the Senate at the end of his term 2019 after clashing repeatedly with President Donald Trump and saying he was out of step with the modern G.O.P.

While supporters said Flake had the skills to handle one of the most complicated U.S. alliances, other foreign policy experts said the job should have gone to a career diplomat. 

For his part, Flake said he was 'humbled' and 'honored' at his nomination to a 'pivotal post.'  

'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,' he said in a statement. 

'U.S. foreign policy can and should be bipartisan.

'That is my belief as well, and my commitment.'

Jeff Flake campaigned for Joe Biden last year and on Tuesday became the second Republican to be nominated for an ambassador post. He said he was 'humbled' and 'honored' to be selected to serve as ambassador to Turkey

Jeff Flake campaigned for Joe Biden last year and on Tuesday became the second Republican to be nominated for an ambassador post. He said he was 'humbled' and 'honored' to be selected to serve as ambassador to Turkey

Biden is slowly filling out the top ranks of the diplomatic service. Last week, the White House announced he would be nominating Los Angeles mayor and ally Eric Garcetti as envoy to India. But other key capitals remain without nominees, including London

Biden is slowly filling out the top ranks of the diplomatic service. Last week, the White House announced he would be nominating Los Angeles mayor and ally Eric Garcetti as envoy to India. But other key capitals remain without nominees, including London

Flake said he was grateful for a chance to serve. 'This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries,' he said

Flake said he was grateful for a chance to serve. 'This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries,' he said

Flake represented Arizona first as a representative in the U.S. House from 2001 to 2013, and then as a senator.

He becomes the second Republican nominated for an ambassadorial role after Cindy McCain, who has been selected to head United States Mission to the UN agencies of food and agriculture in Rome.  

If confirmed, his posting will be tougher. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's authoritarian instincts have strained relations between Washington and Ankara in recent years. 

During the 2020 campaign, Biden infuriated the Turkish government by describing Erdogan as an 'autocrat.'  

They reached a low in April when Biden recognized the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the early Twentieth Century as a genocide.

Previous presidents avoided the term for fear of harming relations. 

Last year the U.S. removed Turkey from its role in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program - replacing Turkish suppliers of 188 parts - and imposed sanctions for buying a Russian-made missile defense system.  

Biden infuriated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by describing him as an 'autocrat' during the election campaign. If confirmed, Flake will be walking into one of the trickiest U.S. alliances

Biden infuriated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by describing him as an 'autocrat' during the election campaign. If confirmed, Flake will be walking into one of the trickiest U.S. alliances

Some foreign policy experts questioned why a political appointee had been selected for such a difficult and important posting rather than a career diplomat

Some foreign policy experts questioned why a political appointee had been selected for such a difficult and important posting rather than a career diplomat


Brett Bruen, White House global engagement director under President Obama, said Biden had made a mistake in picking a political appointee for such a high-stakes role.

'While I have great respect for Senator Flake, this is absolutely not the right choice,' he said. 

'The challenges and complexities of our relations today with Turkey really demands someone with decades of diplomatic experience.'  

One possible area of cooperation is Afghanistan. Turkey has offered to protect and operate Kabul airport after U.S. and NATO forces have left the country. 

Flake is a former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his former colleagues were quick to say his longstanding interest in world affairs would make him a good fit. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said Flake had the skills to build a better relationship with Turkey.  

'Our relations with Turkey’s government have been fraught in more recent years by tensions over security matters and human rights policies,' he said. 

'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.'

Biden nominates former Republican Senator and CBS contributor Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey after US inflamed tensions with Erdogan for recognizing the Armenian Genocide Biden nominates former Republican Senator and CBS contributor Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey after US inflamed tensions with Erdogan for recognizing the Armenian Genocide Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:36 Rating: 5

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