WASHINGTON

The UN General Assembly elected Wednesday former Turkish Ambassador Volkan Bozkir to be its president ahead of the 75th General Debate in September.

Bozkir is currently a Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmaker from Istanbul and head of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

He was elected to the Turkish legislature in 2011 following nearly 40 years in the foreign service that included posts in Stuttgart, Germany; Baghdad; New York and Bucharest, Romania.

Bozkir is the first Turkish national to head the General Assembly. He will take office in September and hold the post for one year.

This year he will lead the annual forum as its prepares to convene in some virtual form for the first time in the UN’s 75-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

World leaders are usually accompanied by large delegations as they convene in New York for the annual meetings, a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow leaders from nations worldwide.

This year was supposed to be a particularly special gathering with the international body celebrating its 75th anniversary, but with the virus continuing to persist worldwide alternative measures are being adopted.

Current General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told reporters last Monday, “World leaders cannot come to New York because they cannot come simply as individuals,” referring to the large entourages that accompany them.

Muhammad-Bande said he hopes to clarify in the next two weeks how the General Debate will take place.

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