Selim Yenel was born in 1956 in Istanbul. He entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1979. His first posting was the Turkish Delegation to the OECD in Paris between 1981 – 84. From there he went to the Turkish Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan (1984 – 86). After coming back to the MFA he was posted to the Turkish Delegation to the UN in New York (1988 – 92). From 1994 till 1999 he was at the Turkish Delegation to the European Union in Brussels. He returned to Ankara and dealt with EU matters up until the opening of accession negotiations (1999 - 2005). Subsequently in December 2005 he was posted as Ambassador to Vienna until October 2009 when he returned to Ankara as Deputy Under-Secretary for Bilateral Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy. From December 2011 till January 2017 he was posted as Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Turkey to the European Union. Upon his return to Ankara he became Undersecretary at the Ministry of EU Affairs until July 2018 when the EU Ministry and Foreign Ministry merged. In 2019 he was appointed as First Deputy Secretary General at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organization. In January 2020 he became President of Global Relations Forum.
He is married and has a son and a daughter.