New U.S. ambassador arrives as U.S.-Turkey tensions peak over S-400

The new U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, ending a two-year vacancy in the position, the U.S. embassy in Turkey reported. 

“We are pleased to announce that David Satterfield, appointed as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, arrived in Ankara. Welcome to Turkey,” the embassy said on Twitter. 

The U.S. ambassador’s arrival comes at a time of considerable U.S.-Turkey tensions. The United States has threatened to expel Turkey from its programme to help produce F-35 fighter jets and sanction Ankara for its purchase of Russia's S-400 missile systems, the first of which is due to arrive in Turkey this week.

This is the first ambassador posting for Satterfield, who had served as acting assistant secretary of state for Middle East affairs since 2017. Prior to that, he served as special adviser to the secretary of state for Libya and worked in U.S. embassies in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Satterfield in February and the Senate approved his appointment last month. Satterfield replaces John Bass, who headed the U.S. embassy in Turkey from 2014 to 2017, when he was appointed ambassador to Afghanistan. The position had remained vacant since then.