David Satterfield, the newly designated United States ambassador to Turkey, arrived in the country’s capital Ankara after landing at the Esebonga Aiport at 7 pm on Wednesday.
“We’re pleased to announce that U.S. Ambassador-Designate to Turkey, David M. Satterfield, arrived in Ankara today. Welcome to Turkey!” the US embassy said via its official Twitter account on Wednesday.
Satterfield was welcomed by Jeffrey M. Hovenier, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy.
The newly-appointed ambassador will start work after presenting his credentials to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Satterfield was designated as the ambassador to Turkey by the Senate on June 27 after US President Donald Trump announced his candidacy in February.
Being a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Satterfield has been acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs since 2017. Fluent in Arabic and French, he also served at US missions in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
The post has been vacant for one and a half years since John Bass, the last American ambassador in Ankara who served between 2014 and 2017, left to take up the post of US ambassador to Afghanistan.
The two NATO allies, Turkey and the US have been at odds with each other regarding Turkey’s plan to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
Washington argues that the S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Turkey helps to build and plans to buy.
Provided that Turkey goes ahead with the S-400 delivery as it seems determined to, it is likely to trigger US sanctions and the country could face expulsion from the F-35 program.