He is expected to take up an ambassadorial or special envoy position in the next assignment from the Foreign Ministry.
Özçelik was the chief architect of the government's campaign to contain outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism and has cultivated close ties with the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq. As he served as Turkey's ambassador to Iraq before being appointed as undersecretary of the Public Order and Security Bureau, he knows the region very well.
In connection with efforts to fight terrorism, Özçelik met with officials from the US State Department, the Pentagon and other departments of the US government and made trips to the KRG region.
Özçelik was rumored to have major disagreements with Beşir Atalay, deputy prime minister responsible for counterterrorism, on how best to solve the PKK terrorism. Atalay, who had championed the Kurdish initiative launched by the government in 2009, was accused of stalling security operations to root out militants belonging to the PKK. Atalay lost his job as interior minister in the new Cabinet after last year's elections.
Security experts say Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally favored Özçelik. He reportedly submitted his resignation earlier this month, but was initially turned down by Erdoğan, who later had to accept Özçelik's decision. Some analysts saw Özçelik's departure as a blow to Turkey's fight against PKK terrorism.