New law set to amend conditions on diplomat appointments

New law set to amend conditions on diplomat appointments

New law set to amend conditions on diplomat appointments

Private sector employees could be appointed to executive public servant positions if the new bill is approved. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A bill submitted to Parliament by the Cabinet paves the way for the appointment to public servant and administrator positions for those who worked five years in the private sector and possess a bachelor’s degree. The bill will also enable the appointment of non-career employees to administration positions in the Foreign Ministry.

Non-career ambassadors that were appointed outside of the Foreign Ministry will be able to return to Ankara headquarters with the same rights as professional diplomats.

Ten non-career diplomats work as ambassadors

The Turkish government has designated nearly ten non-career diplomats as ambassadors, among them the former head of Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK), Yusuf Ziya Özcan, who represents Turkey in Poland. Governor Mehmet Niyazi Tanılır was named ambassador to Montenegro, while Ömer Faruk Doğan of the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat was designated ambassador to Cameroon.

Appointment of non-diplomat ambassadors has long sparked criticism from the main opposition party.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) recently fired salvos at the government with questions regarding the views expressed by Turkey’s ambassador to Chad on al-Qaeda.

Regarding Turkish Ambassador to Chad Ahmet Kavas, who said “al-Qaeda is not a terrorist organization,” CHP Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu said last month that envoys represented their states.

Neither the Foreign Ministry nor any figure from the government has so far provided a reaction to the
ambassador’s remarks, and he remains on duty.

Ambassador’s al-Qaeda remarks spark row

Loğoğlu asked, “Does the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] government regard al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization or not? Considering that its ambassador has not been corrected, what kind of conclusion should we draw?”

The CHP Deputy Chair added that it is essential “that the government makes this issue clear and that they be open within the context of ongoing efforts toward ending terror and violence in our country.”
Kavas is one of around a dozen non-diplomats to have been appointed as ambassadors by the AKP government.

Kavas, an academic with expertise on Africa, was most recently working at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Theology before being appointed to his current post in August 2012.