Flake meets with Erdoğan in first official duties as US ambassador

Greg Nash

Jeff Flake, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey and former Arizona Republican senator, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday in his first official duties as the U.S. ambassador to the country.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara tweeted that the former Arizona senator gave his credentials to the Turkish president at the country’s presidential complex on Wednesday.

“It is an honor to represent the United States in Turkey. This is a critical relationship at a pivotal time,” Flake said in a post on Twitter.

Flake was among a group of ambassadors who were confirmed by the Senate in late October after confirmations had been stalled by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amid concerns over how a Russian gas pipeline was being handled by President Biden. Flake was sworn in in December.

A vocal critic of former President Trump, the former Republican senator decided against running for reelection in 2017 given the political headwinds he acknowledged he would have faced.

“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets … has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party,” Flake said on the Senate floor at the time. “It’s also clear to me for the moment that we have given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment.”

Since then, Flake has said that the former president “does not deserve reelection” in an op-ed published in The Washington Post in 2019 and told The Post in a separate interview in April 2020 that he would not be voting for Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.

“This won’t be the first time I’ve voted for a Democrat — though not for president. Last time I voted for a third-party candidate,” he told the newspaper. “But I will not vote for Donald Trump.”

Trump celebrated Flake’s expected retirement in 2018 following the midterm elections.

“In Jeff Flake’s case it’s me, pure and simple. I retired him. I’m very proud of it, I did the country a great service,” Trump said at the White House during a press conference. 

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Jeff Flake Jeff Flake Joe Biden Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Ted Cruz Turkey

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