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 ...
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.”
Josh Rogin is a former staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshrogin
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