Russia awards Turkish businessman for role in normalizing ties
Nerdun Hacıoğlu - MOSCOWRussia has awarded a Turkish businessman for his efforts in the normalization of ties between Ankara and Moscow after a major row between the two sides last year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin granted the Order of Friendship award to Turkish businessman Cavit Çağlar on May 26 with a decree he signed.
The award was given to a Turkish citizen for the first time.
Speaking about the award, Çağlar said he was honored.
“The two major states, Russia and Turkey, should always be in good relations,” Çağlar said, adding that he always worked for the friendship between Russia and Turkey.
“It’s an honor and a source of happiness that Mr. Putin gave me this award,” he added.
The Order of Friendship was established in 1994 by then-President Boris Yeltsin and is given to foreign nationals who contribute to Russia.
Çağlar was a key name in the normalization of ties between Ankara and Moscow that were severed when Turkey downed a Russian SU-24 jet near the Syrian border on Nov. 24, 2015.
The incident touched off months of diplomatic tension that included Russia imposing sanctions on Turkey, which began abating with a normalization process last summer.
A number of sectors, notably trade and tourism, as well as some key energy projects, including the Akkuyu power plant and the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, were deeply affected by the deterioration of relations with Russia.
Exports from Turkey to Russia showed a sharp decline. Russia, which ranked ninth last year during the first seven months, regressed in a list to 20th place in 2016, following its ban on Turkish goods at the beginning of 2016.
Çağlar was involved in a letter diplomacy that also included President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın and Putin’s chief adviser Yuri Ushakov.
Kalın had confirmed that Çağlar played a very important role in solving the crisis, as well as “Nursultan Nazarbayev, who showed great friendship to Turkey” and “the patriotic initiative taken by Gen. Hulusi Akar, the Chief of General Staff” despite the area being out of his responsibility.