Russia awards Turkish businessman Çağlar

Russia awards Turkish businessman Çağlar

Russia awards Turkish businessman Çağlar

Turkish businessman Cavit Çağlar has received the Russian Order of Friendship for his contribution to Turkish-Russian relations during the recent “normalization” period between the two countries.

The reception was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin to mark Russia’s Day of National Unity on Nov. 4.

The Order of Friendship is given to a number of foreign citizens “for their outstanding services to strengthening peace, friendship and mutual understanding between peoples, to preserving and popularizing the Russian language and culture abroad,” according to the Kremlin.

Çağlar, who is also a former minister, has reportedly become the first Turkish person to receive the order.

At the award ceremony, he spoke about the process of restoring the relations between Moscow and Ankara after the latter downed a Russian jet on the border with Syria in November 2015.

“The real heroes behind the normalization process were Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin,” he said as quoted by Russian and Turkish reports.

After ties were hit by the jet crisis, prompting a series of Russian economic sanctions on Turkey, Russia and Turkey clinched a deal to normalize relations in secret talks in the Uzbek capital Tashkent following mediation by figures including Çağlar and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as first reported by the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 9, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan departed for Russia on that date to meet with Putin in St. Petersburg in his first trip abroad since the failed coup attempt of July 15.

İbrahim Kalın, the spokesman for Erdoğan, at the time said Çağlar “played a very important role” in solving the crisis, as well as “Nursultan Nazarbayev, who showed great friendship to Turkey.”

Kalın also praised “the patriotic initiative” taken by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, despite the area being out of Akar’s responsibility.

Çağlar told the Hürriyet Daily News on the phone that he had “nothing to say in addition to Mr. Kalın, who represents the state,” stressing that he “could not give further details.”