Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today announced Mr James Larsen as Australia's next Ambassador to Turkey with non-resident accreditation to Azerbaijan and Georgia. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2014 replacing Mr Ian Biggs.
Australia has a close and productive relationship with Turkey, which will come increasingly into focus as we approach our joint commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in 2015. The Australian Government is committed to strengthening and deepening those ties through to 2015 and beyond.
Expanding trade and investment links is a priority, noting Turkey's young and growing market of 75 million people and the opportunities it provides for Australian businesses. Two-way merchandise trade totalled $1.2 billion in 2012.
Australia and Turkey are partners on a range of political, defence and security, economic, inter-faith and other cultural issues. We share common perspectives in the UN, with rebuilding Afghanistan; in NATO; on the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative; and as a fellow member of the MIKTA initiative. Turkey will join the G20 troika on 1 December 2013, and will follow Australia as G20 chair in 2015.
Australia enjoys positive bilateral relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan. We cooperate on international security through participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). These relations have recently been strengthened through officials' talks and the establishment of embassies in Australia.
Mr Larsen is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has previously served as Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues; Ambassador to Israel; Counsellor in Brussels; and Second Secretary in Bangkok.
Until September 2013, Mr Larsen was Principal Adviser to the former Minister for Foreign Affairs. He has previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Legal Branch.
Mr Larsen holds Bachelor of Arts and Laws degrees from the University of Melbourne.
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