Turkish envoy named as senior NATO representative in Afghanistan

Turkish envoy named as senior NATO representative in Afghanistan

Turkish envoy named as senior NATO representative in Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg walks around in the dining room to meet NATO service members at Kandahar air base during his first visit as the head of NATO in southern Kandahar, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. AP Photo

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has appointed Ambassador İsmail Aramaz as the next NATO senior civilian representative (SCR) in Afghanistan, the alliance said in a written statement Nov 17.

Aramaz, who is currently Turkey’s ambassador to Afghanistan, is expected to take up his new post early next year, it added.

The envoy has extensive diplomatic experience with both Afghanistan and NATO. He served as Turkey’s deputy permanent representative to NATO from 2003 to 2007 and as political adviser to the commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from 2002 to 2003. He has also held key posts at the Turkish Foreign Ministry dealing with NATO issues.

Aramaz will replace Ambassador Maurits Jochems, who served as the NATO senior civilian representative since August 2012.

Jochems played a vital role in supporting NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan. “He has worked effectively with the Afghan authorities, senior officials representing other international organizations, and military and civilian leaders from NATO and partner countries.  On behalf of the alliance, the secretary-general thanked Ambassador Jochems for his capable and dedicated service,” read the statement.

“As ISAF ends in December 2014 and NATO launches the Resolute Support Mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan security forces, the alliance and our partners will remain committed to supporting Afghanistan and further developing our long-term relationship,” NATO said. “Ambassador Aramaz will play an integral role in those efforts.”

Upon Turkey’s request

A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry underlined that Aramaz was appointed to the post upon Turkey’s request, reflecting Turkey’s leading role in NATO’s important operations.

“The senior civilian representative is responsible for monitoring NATO’s political-military objectives in Afghanistan and for maintaining contact with the Afghan government, civil society, representatives of the international community, as well as Afghanistan’s neighbors,” the statement said.

The representative also makes recommendations to the NATO Council for the best harmonization of NATO policies with Afghanistan.

The statement also said Turkey would continue to serve in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and would manage Kabul International Airport.