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Media Watch 2005

18 March 2005
Source: Agence France Presse
Author:
Comment: The following is a report of Agence France Presse of 18 March 2005.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman resigns from his post
"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."


ANKARA (AFP) - U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman has resigned from both his post in Ankara and the U.S. Foreign Service, an American embassy official said.

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-U.S. relations and what was happening here in Turkey," he said.

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

Edelman, who was named U.S. 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-U.S. 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."