Turkey seeks top job at OSCE
A senior Turkish diplomat is competing against rivals from Austria, Italy and Portugal for a top post in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), touting his selection as "a strategic choice for Europe." Turkey's geographic location and ongoing membership talks with the European Union give it an edge to assume the OSCE secretary-general post during a period of turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, said Ambassador Ersin Ercin. "Turkey is a country that very well understands the sensitivities of the East and the West and can realize the urgently needed compromise within the organization," Ercin, President Abdullah Gul's special envoy for European security, said in an interview. Diplomatic circles praise Ercin as a strong pick in light of recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt, which have demonstrated Turkey's importance to regional security and stability. Ercin, pledging to be a "confident, visionary, dynamic and energetic" OSCE head, faces challenges from three EU candidates: former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik; Lamberto Zannier, a career Italian diplomat currently in charge of the UN mission in Kosovo; and Joao Soares from Portugal, the former head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.