A major reshuffle of Turkey’s most important diplomatic posts has taken effect with two former ambassadors to Japan, Serdar Kılıç and Abdurrahman Bilgiç, being posted as Turkey’s envoys to the United States and the United Kingdom respectively.
Bilgiç, a career diplomat, had been serving as the deputy undersecretary responsible of external relations at the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) since 2011. Bilgiç moved to MİT from Tokyo where he was serving as Turkey’s ambassador. Bilgiç will replace Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, one of the most experienced diplomats of the Foreign Ministry.
Bilgiç was notified about his appointment directly by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğluwho told him, “Welcome back to your ministry.”
Turkey’s current ambassador to Tokyo, Serdar Kılıç, will be posted to Washington D.C., replacing Ambassador Namık Tan who has been representing Turkey in the U.S. since 2010. Tan is well-known for his expertise in Turkish-American relations and in public diplomacy, as he had served as the ministry’s spokesperson for years.
Before his appointment to Tokyo, Kılıç served as the secretary-general of the National Security Council (MGK) between 2010 and 2012. But his background also includes expertise on NATO issues, an important element of Turkish-American cooperation. Another important fact about Kılıç is that he is the uncle of Çağatay Kılıç, Turkey’s newly appointed Sports and Youth Minister.
In the meantime, Kılıç will be replaced by Ahmet Bülent Meriç, who is married to a Turkish woman of Japanese descent, Aylin Meriç. “Did you miss your homeland?” Davutoğlu reportedly asked Aylin Meriç over the phone, before informing the couple that they had been appointed to Tokyo.
The ambassadors’ decree also included the repositioning of Turkey’s ambassador to Rome, Hakkı Akil, to Paris as Turkey’s top envoy. Akil, an experienced diplomat who already served in Abu Dhabi and Ashgabat, has been in Rome since 2011.
Meanwhile, Hüseyin Avni Botsalı, who was expelled from Cairo while serving as Turkish ambassador there, has been appointed as Turkey’s permanent representative to UNESCO, in Paris. Davutoğlu informed Botsalı’s new posting to the diplomat’s wife, İnci Botsalı, reportedly saying “To date, you had served in difficult regions. Now you are going to a more comfortable but still very important place.”
In the meantime, Mehmet Tuğrul Gücük has been appointed as Turkey’s Ambassador to Bern, Aydan Yamancan to Vilnius, Esra Demir to Abidjan, Hikmet Renan Şekeroğlu to Bamako, and Mehmet Bilir to Nouakchott.