Luncheon with the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Namık Tan

The World Affairs Council was pleased to host the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Namık Tan. He spoke at luncheon discussion at the Rainier Club on US-Turkish relations and Turkey’s assessment of regional issues.

Turkey’s global leadership role is becoming increasingly prominent as the Middle East is faced with the regional challenges of political transition after the Arab Spring, violence in on its border in Syria, and increasing tension between Israel and its neighbors.

Ambassador Namık Tan was appointed Ambassador of Turkey to the United States in February 2010. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Tan was Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy. He was previously Ambassador of Turkey to Israel from 2007 to 2009.

Ambassador Tan joined the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982. After working in the Department of Maritime Affairs, he was posted to Moscow as Second Secretary from 1984 to 1987. He then spent two years as First Secretary in Abu Dhabi. After returning to Turkey, Mr. Tan served as the Deputy Chief of Cabinet to the Turkish President until 1991.

He was later assigned to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, where he served as Counselor from 1991 to 1995 and First Counselor from 1997 to 2001. Between these assignments, Mr. Tan served as Chief of Cabinet to the Turkish Foreign Minister.  Upon his return to Turkey in 2001, he first served as Head of the Department for the Americas, and was subsequently named Head of the Information Department in 2002. He went on to serve as the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2007.

With his past expertise in mind, Ambassador Tan expected to answer questions concerning Turkey’s places as a regional player, the Syrian crisis, and Turkish relations with Israel. Ambassador Tan began his remarks with humorous remarks about Seattle through an anecdote about his son.  He was then able to turn on a more serious note as he spoke on the varied relationships between Turkey and its neighbors. The focus of the talk centered on ideas about Turkey in the West, apt descriptions of Turkish political actions abroad, talk of the Syrian crisis, particularly the thousands of Syrian guests Turkey is currently hosting. Throughout all the topics addressed, Ambassador Tan endeared himself to the crowd with his candid political acumen and the ability to thoroughly answer any question directed to him.

The three main ideas that Ambassador Tan wanted all present to leave with were: 1) It remains essential that cooperation between the United States and Turkey continues so both allies can flourish, 2) Turkey has created a synthesis of Islam and democracy, and 3) Turkey is still not known well in this country so interested parties should read the Turkish government’s many official websites and follow them on twitter or Facebook.

For more information, click here. See live tweets from the luncheon @wacseattle #namiktan.