Turkey names Murat Mercan as new U.S. ambassador

(Updated with other appointments of ambassadors, permanent representative)

Turkey has appointed Murat Mercan as the country’s new ambassador to the United States, NTV reported on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated the 61-year-old diplomat, who has been serving as ambassador to Japan since 2017, on his new post in a phone call on Monday night, it said.

Mercan is set to replace Serdar Kılıç, who has served as Turkey’s top diplomat to the United States since April 2014.

A founding member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and seasoned politician, Mercan has served as the head of the Turkish delegation at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Elections, head of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the Turkish Parliament andDeputy Energy Minister from Feb. 2012- Sept. 2014.

Mercan’s appointment coincides with a new U.S. administration led by president-elect Joe Biden.

Biden, who critics expect to take a tougher stance with Ankara than his predecessor Donald Trump, is set to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20.

Turkey on Tuesday announced a string of other appointments, including that of Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy as ambassador to Belgrade, as well as the retirement of Turkey representativeto the United Nations, Feridun Sinirlioğlu.

Moreover, the current head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Mehmet Güllüoglu, has been named Turkish ambassador in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania. 

Turkey's current ambassador in Madrid, Cihad Erginay, has been appointed ambassador in Kabul, Afghanistan, while Ahmet Basar Sen has been named the country's the new ambassador to Germany. 

Meanwhile, Hatun Demirer has also been appointed permanent representative at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).