Filiz Dinçmen


Ankara University Faculty of Political Science

Diplomat. She was born in Zonguldak in 1939. After graduating from Ankara Girls' High School and completed her university education at Ankara University, faculty of Political Science. She started to work in Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1961 and worked as UN Office 2nd and 3rd clerk. In August 1965, she became the second secretary in UN New York Office and then the first secretary. Dinçmen worked in Tehran Consulate of Turkey between 1968 and 1970; and also worked in several duties of Common Market (European Union) and in 1982 she became the Hague Ambassador in Netherlands and became the first women ambassador of Turkey.

Filiz Dinçmen explains her appointment as the first woman ambassador as follows: "After graduating from university, I have entered the Foreign Affairs Ministry. My husband was my classmate at university. My first place of duty was the UN Representation in New York. We married there and then we were appointed to Tehran. Then we were appointed to Ankara, Office of Economic Affairs in the Ministry. Following this, I was the Permanent Representative in Economic Community of Europe in Brussels. After returning from Brussels, I worked at several duties in the Ministry for six years. In 1982, I was appointed as the first female ambassador of Turkey at La Hague Embassy. I had some problems in this duty as I am a woman. But everyone helped me afterwards. I remember this with gratitude."

Filiz Dinçmen is the first woman ambassador who represented Turkey and she said that being the first is very honorary. Dinçmen had the courage to be the first woman in diplomacy and she has added that she never had any discrimination in her job as a woman. She has emphasized that there are challenges in this job as Turkey has a country with many problems to deal with, and she also said that representing Turkey abroad is not an easy issue. She indicated that she did not have any problems in her job: "I have seen that if you have the same skills with males, you have more advantages. Women can be more compromising, convincing and effective. This was very useful for me."

"Turkey has a problem of image in foreign countries. It is not a well-recognized country" and she added that being a female ambassador contributed positively to the country: "My last duty was at Vatican. They called me as the illuminated face of Turkey. I have realized that I introduced Turkey with its modern face as a woman".

When she was appointed to La Hague, there was a period of assassinations on Turkish diplomats. She was protected very strictly. Her husband was appointed to Qatar, so she did not see him for two years. He was the greatest support for her. When her duty in Netherlands ended (1984), she was assigned to Strasbourg before returning to Turkey. Her duty was to challenge the representatives of EU as well. Turkey has automatically assigned the Term Presidency in European Council due to military coup. After the elections, Ozal government wanted to have the term presidency; and it was very hard to realize this. So she had a very troublesome period. When Turkey took the term presidency, she was the President of Ambassadors Committee for 6 months.

After her duty as Turkey Permanent Representative at European Council in Strasbourg; she became the first vice undersecretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988. Her four years in Strasbourg was very problematic. She became the Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson in 1991; and Vienna Ambassador (1993-1997), Malta Ambassador. She was the Vatican Ambassador between 2001 and 2004, the first Muslim ambassador at the heart of Catholic world. Then she retired. She worked as the head consultant of TGNA President Hikmet Cetin and had an accident in Kula in 1998 with her private car. 

REFERENCE: Vatikan’da ilk Müslüman kadın büyükelçi (Hürriyet, 24 September 2001).



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