Chambers head awarded Spain’s Order of Merit
Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), has been awarded the Spanish Order of Civil Merit with degree of Encomienda at the behest of King Felipe VI of Spain, in recognition of his valuable work toward strengthening relations between Turkey and Spain.
The award was presented to Hısarcıkloğlu by Juan Gonzalez Barba, Spain’s ambassador to Turkey, at a ceremony held in the Turkish capital Ankara.
“I am much honored to be awarded with this Order of Civil Merit in recognition of my contribution to the good relations between the two countries. I am also honored on behalf of the Turkish business community. I would like to express my gratitude to His Majesty King Felipe VI for deeming me worthy of the Order,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu, speaking at the ceremony.
The TOBB head stressed the good economic and political relationship between the two countries.
“We have been working together in NATO, the OECD, and the European Union. Spain has demonstrated its friendship with its support for Turkey’s EU membership,” Hisarcıklıoğlu told the audience.
“On the other hand, we also have strong commercial ties. Spain is one of Turkey’s top 10 trade partners. Bilateral trade volume between the two countries exceeded 12 billion euros (around $14 billion).”
Hisarcıklıoğlu also noted that there are some 700 Spanish companies doing business in Turkey.
“Spanish companies’ investments in Turkey are above 10 billion euros, which confirms Spain’s trust in Turkey and the Turkish economy.”
According to Hisarcıkloğlu, Turkish companies’ interest in the Spanish market has grown stronger over the past couple of years.
“Some 100 companies have investments in Spain. As TOBB, we are working to further improve trade ties with Spain,” he added.
For his part, Barba said bilateral investments are on the rise and that Hisarcıklıoğlu is the name behind this trend.
“Spain supports Turkey’s EU process and insists on that. This award has been given to Hisarcıklıoğlu on behalf of Turkey,” Barba added.