- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005

Leaving Turkey

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey is planning to resign in June after spending two years dealing with increasing tensions in U.S.-Turkish relations.

Ambassador Eric Steven Edelman, whose pending resignation was announced Friday in Washington, has tried to reassure Turkish officials that the United States values its diplomatic, cultural, historical and strategic ties with a nation that has been a longtime NATO ally.

Mr. Edelman, a career diplomat, is leaving the Foreign Service for personal reasons and departing from Turkey “on positive, friendly, cooperative terms,” said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.

However, the Turkish media has been griping about the ambassador for months, and officials have sent confusing messages about relations with Washington.

For his part, Mr. Edelman has praised Turkey in most public appearances, although some Turks accused him of meddling in domestic affairs when he commented last week on a planned visit to Syria by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Mr. Edelman urged Turkey to join the “international consensus” in demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, but added that the decision “is for Turkey to determine.”

Mr. Edelman last month said a recent visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice showed the importance the United States attached to its relations with Turkey and noted U.S. support for Turkish membership in the European Union.

“We have been through ups and downs in the past in the U.S.-Turkish relationship,” he told reporters after Miss Rice’s visit.

“What is important … is the sustained public support for the relationship because that is the only way two democratic countries can have a strong strategic relationship in the long run.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• King Abdullah II of Jordan, who receives an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Georgetown University.

• Jacob Dallal, former spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces.

• Peter Maurer, Switzerland’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Hania Zlotnik of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. They participate in a panel discussion on global migration, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

• Nikolai Vulchanov of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who joins a panel discussion on prospects for a democratic election in Albania this summer, sponsored by the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Tomorrow

• Doron Zimmermann of Switzerland’sCenter for Security Studies and Saad Abudayeh of the University of Jordan. They participate in a panel discussion on international security at American University.

Wednesday

Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and former U.N. envoy to Bosnia; Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister; Sukehiro Hasegawa of Japan, special U.N. envoy to East Timor; Wolfgang Petritsch of Austria, former U.N. envoy to Bosnia; Michael Steiner of Germany, former U.N. envoy to Kosovo; and Juan Gabriel Valdes of Chile, senior U.N. envoy to Haiti. They participate in a forum on reconstructing war-torn nations at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Thursday

• Hungarian Foreign Minister Ferenc Somogyi, who addresses the Atlantic Council on “Current Challenges in Trans-Atlantic Relations.”

• Dmitry Strovsky, journalism professor at Russia’s Ural State University, who discusses media politics in Russia with invited guests at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

• Peruvian journalist Alvaro Vargas Llosa, who discusses his book, “Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo 500 Years of State Oppression,” with invited guests of the Inter-American Dialogue.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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