Turkey appoints new ambassadors  

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opens a new chapter in Turkish diplomatic relations with the appointment of 54 key ambassadors  
El presidente, Recep tayyip Erdogan, abre un nuevo capítulo en las relaciones diplomáticas turcas con el nombramiento de 54 embajadores claves


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who disputes certain borders and defies international treaties, has revived long-standing conflicts with most countries, and has staged several coups d'état with his allies, both within NATO and the European Union.  

The summit of the Council of the European Union to be held on 10 and 11 December will be essential for relations with Turkey where sanctions could be adopted against Turkey. The condition was, said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, that Ankara should stop the provocations and hostile rhetoric, but "developments are not positive" and the EU has noted that "unilateral acts" have continued, so the summit will hold a debate with 27 to consider "the first stages" of a response. 

In view of this situation, Erdogan decided on Tuesday to issue a presidential decree on the appointment of 54 Turkish ambassadors to foreign missions, appointments which, according to Arab News, are considered "mini-revolution" in the context of the traditional approach of the Turkish foreign ministry.  

One of the crucial appointments is that of Murat Mercan, the current ambassador to Japan, who will now serve as chief envoy in Washington. This tactical appointment is perceived by some as a veiled message to the administration of newly elected President Joe Biden. Turkey therefore appears ready to open a new page in bilateral relations, in the eyes of US observers. 

Murat Mercan is facing a climate of tension with the USA following Ankara's decision to purchase the Russian missile defence system, the S-400, which led the Trump Administration to want to impose sanctions against Turkey.   

Turkey's appointment of the current ambassador to Tunisia, Ali Onaner, as ambassador to France is also considered as crucial. The latter was a classmate of the French President Emmanuel Macron at the National School of Administration.  

Onaner, a career diplomat, congratulated Macron in a tweet when his friend won the first round of the presidential elections in April 2017. However, he recently attacked the French leader on Twitter when he expressed a desire to see Ankara open "serious dialogue channels". On 9 September he tweeted: "I have some friendly advice for my classmate Macron: go ahead, don't wait, go on".  

Onaner has to face a moment of enmity between Turkey and France, after the statements made by the Turkish President, after he invited Emmanuel Macron to undergo "a mental health test", and asked for the boycott of French products, after the publications of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo.  

AFP/YOAV DUDKEVITCH - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
AFP/YOAV DUDKEVITCH - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Another tactical move by Ankara is the appointment of Kenan Yilmaz, an active bureaucrat during the diplomatic negotiations on the conflict in Libya, who was appointed as the Turkish ambassador in Tripoli.  

Tugay Tuncer becomes the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Fatih Ulusoy will be the new envoy to Saudi Arabia, two thorny diplomatic fronts in Turkey's relations with the Gulf countries. According to Arab News, Erdogan's election for the posts in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh means that Turkey wants to improve its relations with both countries. 

A fortnight ago, the United Arab Emirates suspended the travel visas of the nationals of 13 countries, including Turkey, for "security reasons".  

In fact, on 14 August Erdogan warned Abu Dhabi that Turkey was considering to close its embassy and suspend diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates after its agreement to normalise relations with Israel.  

According to Al-Monitor, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become a standard-bearer for the rights of the Palestinians in the Muslim world, and the relations between Turkey and Israel, which were once very prosperous, have constantly deteriorated since his party (AKP) came to power in 2002.  

Turkey appointed a pro-Erdogan ambassador to Israel in order to normalise the relations. There have been no ambassadors in either country since May 2018, when Ankara withdrew its envoy because of the escalation of attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza and Washington's decision to relocate its embassy in Jerusalem.  

The new ambassador, Ufuk Ulutas, 40 years old, is the chairman of the Strategic Research Centre of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a political officer who studied Hebrew and Middle East politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.