Turkey’s new US ambassador on Wednesday outlined his priorities during his term in office to advance relations between the two countries. 

Hasan Murat Mercan, the former envoy to Tokyo, met with Turkish journalists at the embassy’s residence and said he would work on political, economic and cultural areas to achieve a better relationship with Washington.

Mercan said relations between Turkey and the US have seen ups and downs in the past and ambassadors are supposed to advance relations in line with the policies determined by both Ankara and Washington.

“Important tasks fall on us,” he said, putting political relations first among his priorities, and noted the Turkish embassy will mediate between governments and parliaments, improve mutual political relations and tell their interlocutors about Turkey’s theses and position.

“Our dialogue will increasingly continue with the [US] administration, the Congress and some institutions that have an impact on the political establishment, including think-tanks,” said Mercan.

With economic relations the second priority, Mercan said an intensified effort is needed to increase the volume of trade between the two countries and discuss “some disputes” on the economy.

“It is essential to rate the performance of an ambassador in line with that. I mean how much the embassy plays a role in advancing political relations, how much does it affect and increase trade volume. You should look at these kinds of things,” he said.

Mercan also touched on cultural relations, on which he attaches importance.

“It is important that the peoples of the two countries know each other, understand each other and understand each other’s values.

“For me, it will be one of my tasks to tell about Turkey, its culture and history,” he added.

Mercan said he has been visiting Washington and New York since 1996 for various political and economic reasons.

He took office on Monday.

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