The Cable

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Turkey cashiers its ambassador after PM’s trip

Was the recent U.S.-Turkey summit meeting between President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a success? Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu apparently doesn’t think so, because he fired Ambassador Nabi Sensoy this week. According to a fascinating article in today’s Hurriyet Daily News, Sensoy, a veteran diplomat, was either unwilling or unable to ...

575668_091210_erdoganmeeting2.jpg
575668_091210_erdoganmeeting2.jpg

Was the recent U.S.-Turkey summit meeting between President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a success? Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu apparently doesn't think so, because he fired Ambassador Nabi Sensoy this week.

According to a fascinating article in today's Hurriyet Daily News, Sensoy, a veteran diplomat, was either unwilling or unable to get Davutoglu into the meeting with Obama, blowing the foreign minister's chance to have some face time with the president. So he had to go.

Was the recent U.S.-Turkey summit meeting between President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a success? Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu apparently doesn’t think so, because he fired Ambassador Nabi Sensoy this week.

According to a fascinating article in today’s Hurriyet Daily News, Sensoy, a veteran diplomat, was either unwilling or unable to get Davutoglu into the meeting with Obama, blowing the foreign minister’s chance to have some face time with the president. So he had to go.

The recounting of the episode, if accurate, shows just how much foreign dignitaries depend on their Washington representatives to get them access to the White House, while simultaneously not understanding the complexities of such arrangements. In this case, the foreign minister apparently asked to sit in on the Obama meeting at the last minute and the ambassador knew it would be improper to ask because his counterpart Hillary Clinton would not be in the room.

Some juicy details:

Behind the scenes, Sensoy’s resignation reportedly came after an argument with Davutoglu, who was offended because he was excluded from the Erdogan-Obama meeting in the White House. The foreign minister is said to have accused Sensoy of not fulfilling the request from Ankara that Davutoglu be part of the meeting.   

Well-placed sources said Davutoglu had requested that the White House meeting be in a four-way format known in diplomatic jargon as “one plus one,” which includes two countries’ leaders and foreign ministers, and told the ambassador to convey that request to the U.S. administration.

The meeting in Washington, however, did not take place in the expected format. The exclusion of foreign ministers from Obama-Erdogan meeting led to an argument between the ambassador and Davutoglu, who asked Sensoy why the meeting was not held in the four-way format. Davutoglu noted that the meeting in Ankara during Obama’s first overseas trip in April included the foreign ministers, the Daily News has learned.

According to sources, Sensoy told the minister that the request could not be conveyed and said, “You can dismiss me if you like.”

Nice.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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