The UN General Assembly on Wednesday elected Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir to be its president ahead of the 75th General Debate in September. In a secret ballot vote Bozkir, who was unopposed for the post, received 178 ballots in support as 11 nations abstained, Anadolu Agency reported.

“I am thankful to all UN member states, for electing me with an overwhelming majority, as the President of the 75th UN General Assembly,” Bozkir said on Twitter. “As we mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, I will guide the efforts to contribute to international peace, in the challenging times we live in,” he added.

Bozkir is currently serving as 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 Germany, Iraq, New York and Romania. He also served as Turkey’s Minister of European Affairs and Chief Negotiator.

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Bozkir is the first Turkish national to head the General Assembly. He is expected to take office in September this year and hold the post for one year. Sitting arrangements in the General Assembly Hall change for its session. For the 74th session of 2019-2020, the first seat was occupied by Tijjani Muhammad-Bande from Ghana.

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

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