Turkey’s ambassador İsmail Aramaz has been appointed as the next NATO’s senior civilian representative (SCR) in Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement on Monday.
Aramaz, who is expected to take up his new post early next year, was named as the alliance’s next SCR by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, it added.
Aramaz 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,” read the statement.
“On behalf of the alliance, the secretary-general thanked Ambassador Jochems for his capable and dedicated service.”
“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.”
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.
Turkey would continue to serve in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and would manage Kabul International Airport.