Turkish honour bestowed on Van der Linden
On Thursday, Dutch politician René van der Linden received one of the highest state decorations in Turkey from President Abdullah Gül. The Christian Democrat is now a member of the Order of the Republic. This is the highest distinction for non-heads of state.
René van der Linden (centre)
The tribute was awarded to Mr Van der Linden (69) for his work over the years in furthering relations between Turkey and the Netherlands and the European Union. As chairman of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe and within his own Christian Democratic party (CDA), the former president of the Upper House has always stood firmly behind Turkey’s accession to the EU. He also played an important role last year during the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. On his many visits to Turkey, Mr Van der Linden developed a personal relationship with President Gül.
At the award ceremony in the presidential palace in Ankara, President Gül praised René van der Linden’s commitment to democracy. Several Turkish Ministers attended the occasion (see below).
President Abdullah Gül (centre), flanked by vice premier
Ali Babacan (right) and Semiha Ünal of Business Support Turkey (left)
René van der Linden is the third person to be awarded the Order of the Republic.
Amongst the guests at the ceremony were Turkish Grand National
Assembly (TBMM) Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Vice Premier Ali Babacan, Minister
for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış, Youth and Sport
Minister Suat Kılıç, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik, former
Ministers Ertuğrul Günay and Yaşar Yakış, Secretary General of the
Presidency Mustafa İsen, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Chairman of the TBMM Commission on Foreign
Affairs Volkan Bozkır, Turkey-Netherlands Inter-Parliamentary Friendship
Group Chairman, Şaban Dişli, AK Party Deputy Chairman, Mevlüt
Çavuşoğlu, MPs, Ambassadors and other officials.