Saturday, March 19, 2005

Eric Edelman US Ambassador to Turkey Resigns

Eric Edelman

US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman has resigned from both his post in Ankara and the US foreign service, a American embassy official said Friday.

Edelman sent his letter of resignation to President George W. Bush last week and will be leaving Turkey at the end of June, the official told AFP.

"This is a personal decision. It has nothing to do with Turkish-US relations and what was happening here in Turkey," he said.

He was referring to a period of unusual coolness in Turkish-US ties.

Edelman, who was named US ambassador to Turkey in July 2003, has yet to decide whether to take up a post at another government agency or to go into the private sector, the official said.

Edelman, a career diplomat, recently drew criticism when he implicitly expressed displeasure at a planned visit to Syria next month by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

The president said Tuesday that he would go ahead with the visit, while critics denounced Edelman's remarks as interference in Turkish affairs, some going so far as to call on the government to declare him persona non grata.

Turkish-US relations have been strained since the Turkish parliament, just before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, stunned its long-standing NATO ally by denying it access to Turkish territory to open a northern front.

Washington is also concerned that anti-American feelings are on the rise in Turkey, a Muslim nation with a strictly secular system which the United States says it values as a model of coexistence between democracy and Islam.

Biography of Eric Steven Edelman (From U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey website)

On July 22, 2003, Vice President Richard B. Cheney administered the oath of office to Ambassador Eric Edelman as the new Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey. From February 2001 to June 2003, he was Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. Prior to being assigned to the Office of the Vice President, he was Ambassador to the Republic of Finland, 1998-2001. From June 1996 to July 1998, he served as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State. Mr. Edelman was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, Prague, Czech Republic, from June 1994 to June 1996.

From April 1993 to July 1993, he served as Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States. Mr Edelman’s areas of responsibility were defense, security and space issues.

Mr. Edelman served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Soviet and East European Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) from April 1990 to April 1993.

From April 1989 to March 1990, he was Special Assistant (European Affairs) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Mr. Edelman served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow 1987-89, where he was head of the external political section. He had responsibility for Soviet policies in the third world in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the Department of State from 1984 to 1986.

Previously, Mr. Edelman served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State George P. Shultz, 1982-84; a staff officer on the Secretariat Staff, 1982; a watch officer in the State Department Operations Center 1981-82; and a member of the U.S. Middle East Delegation to the West Bank/Gaza Autonomy Talks Delegations, 1980-81.

A career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Edelman entered the Senior Foreign Service in 1992. He is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense’s award for Distinguished Civilian Service (1993) and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (1990 and 1996).

Mr. Edelman received a B.A. in History and Government from Cornell University in 1972, and a Ph.D. in U.S. Diplomatic History from Yale University in 1981.

Ambassador Edelman is married to the former Patricia Davis and they have four children, Alexander, Stephanie, Terence and Robert.

For more news about Turkey, please visit our Turkish News Category.