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Jeff Flake nominated as Biden's ambassador to Turkey

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Jeff Flake nominated as Biden's ambassador to Turkey

  • U.S. Senator Jeff Flake speaking at the John J. Rhodes Lecture at Arizona State University, March 2018.
    Gage SkidmoreU.S. Senator Jeff Flake speaking at the John J. Rhodes Lecture at Arizona State University, March 2018.

Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who walked away from the Senate over his distaste for Donald Trump's burgeoning support in the GOP, was named Thursday as President Joe Biden's choice to be U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

Turkey is both a key U.S. ally — a NATO member and site of one of our largest overseas military installations — and a challenge to announced U.S. interests in supporting democracy in the Middle East, as the largely Muslim country is ruled by the authoritarian regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Flake served one term in the Senate, after a dozen years in the House of Representatives, and had seats on the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees. During the 2020 presidential campaign, the conservative Republican politician — who had harbored presidential ambitions himself — was a top GOP endorser of Biden in his race against Trump.

"If confirmed by the Senate, I will be pleased to join a strong, experienced and capable team representing U.S. interests abroad. Having served in both the U.S. House and Senate, I understand and appreciate the role Congress plays in U.S. foreign policy, and I look forward to that partnership," Flake said in a statement.

"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," Flake said. "U.S. foreign policy can and should be bipartisan. That is my belief as well, and my commitment."

Flake chose to not run for reelection in 2018, faced with the prospect of being primaried by Trump-aligned politicians. He was censured by the Arizona Republican Party for his opposition to Trump.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema moved quickly to announce her support of Flake's appointment.

"Jeff Flake served Arizona with distinction in both chambers of Congress, where he sought compromise, collaboration, and cooperation," Sinema said in a press release. "Those skills will serve him and America well as he represents our nation in a part of the world critical to America’s security interests. Jeff’s nomination comes at a critical time, when America needs thoughtful statesmanship in Turkey. I look forward to supporting his nomination, and I know he will make us proud."

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