The European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed- door breakfast briefing with Öztürk Yilmaz, Vice Chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP, Turkey’s main opposition party) in charge of Foreign Relations. Yılmaz, a former Ambassador, is a Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey from Ardahan. He was taken hostage in June 2014, when he was the Consul General of Turkey in Mosul and held for 101 days by ISIS.
Yılmaz holds a BA in International Relations from Middle East Technical University in Ankara and an MA in the Development and Integration of the EU from VUB (Free University of Brussels). He joined the Foreign Service in 1996 and respectively served in the Balkans, OSCE, Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus (head of department) Departments. He has also held various positions in the Turkish Embassies in Bishkek and Brasilia as well as being a Counselor at the Permanent Representation of Turkey to the European Union. In 2013, Yılmaz was assigned to Mosul as Consul General and then he was appointed Ambassador of Turkey to Tajikistan in 2015.
At Turkey’s 1 November 2015 General Elections, Yılmaz was elected as Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey from Ardahan Constituency. Yılmaz was elected Member of the Party Assembly of the Republican People’s Party at the 35th Extraordinary Congress, held on 16-17 January 2015. Subsequently, he was appointed Vice Chair in charge of Foreign Relations. He speaks Turkish, English and Russian.