• Wed. Feb 22nd, 2023

U.S. Dedicates New Embassy in Ankara, Turkey: A Symbol of Commitment to the Alliance

Photo courtesy of Embassy Ankara

ANKARA, Turkey – In a ceremony attended by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Flake, the United States officially dedicated its new embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The dedication underscores the strong commitment of the U.S. to the U.S.-Turkey alliance and Turkey’s role as a NATO ally, critical regional partner, and important U.S. security partner.

The new embassy, designed by Ennead Architects of New York, is situated on nine acres in Ankara and incorporates a series of courtyards, drawing upon Turkey’s material palette and vernacular design. The project is on track to receive a LEED Silver certification, a globally recognized mark of achievement in high-performance, best-in-class, green buildings. The certification signifies that a building has been designed and constructed with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.

Specific criteria for LEED Silver certification include:

  • Energy efficiency: The building must demonstrate efficient use of energy through features such as high-performance windows, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, and efficient building envelope design.
  • Water efficiency: The building must reduce water usage through features such as low-flow plumbing fixtures, rainwater harvesting, and drought-resistant landscaping.
  • Indoor environmental quality: The building must improve indoor air quality through measures such as low-emitting materials, improved ventilation systems, and daylighting strategies.
  • Materials and resources: The building must minimize waste and promote the use of environmentally responsible materials, through strategies such as construction waste management, recycled content, and regional materials.

This dedication follows recent embassy dedications in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which took place in November 2022. These dedications reflect the United States’ continued investment in secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to host nations and support U.S. diplomats in advancing foreign policy objectives abroad.

In 2010, then-Secretary of State John Kerry co-wrote an op-ed in which he emphasized the importance of diplomacy and the role of embassies in advancing U.S. interests abroad. He noted that the design of America’s embassies plays a crucial role in projecting the values of the United States to foreign countries. Unfortunately, many of the U.S. embassies at that time were not sending the right message to the public. To protect diplomats against terrorist attacks, many embassies were moved from city centers to distant suburban locations, resulting in a standardized “embassy in a box” design that prioritizes security and cost efficiency over design and location, making it difficult for diplomats to conduct real diplomacy.

…many of our embassies are not sending the right message. Our diplomats are engaged in heroic and difficult work every day. But too often, their buildings — cold concrete at a forbidding distance, hidden away from city life, with little regard for the local surroundings — undermine our diplomats’ message and even their mission.

Op-Ed By Sen. John Kerry and William Cohen to CNN

The recent embassy dedications demonstrate the continued relevance of Kerry’s message and the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to these values. The U.S. government’s investment in these facilities, through the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), aims to ensure that U.S. diplomats have the resources and support they need to carry out their critical work.

In addition to these dedications, the U.S. government has also taken steps to improve embassy design and security. The Improving Embassy Design and Security Act, for example, amends procedures related to the Department of State’s overseas construction, requiring the State Department to consult with Congress before using a non-standard design for a new embassy or consulate and mandating biannual reports to Congress on overseas capital construction projects.