President Abdullah Gül bestowed the former British Minister of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Justice and Member of Parliament, Jack Straw, with the Order of the Republic Medal of Turkey during a ceremony held at the Tarabya Residence. The President lauded Jack Straw for his achievements, saying: “Jack Straw is one of the few politicians who deserves to be called ‘statesman’.”
President Gül averred his pride in decorating the former British Minister with the following words: “We have gathered here today to present my august friend Jack Straw the Order of the Republic Medal of Turkey, which is the highest medal of the Turkish Republic to be given to people who are not heads of state.”
Jack Straw, President Gül said, has devoted his political career starting in 1974 to his country and humanity which he has served both as a member of the government and as an MP of the opposing party. He has always been a real friend of Turkey and the Turkish people through his leadership in such areas as internal affairs, foreign policy, justice and social issues in both the UK and international arena, stated the President.
The President further referred to his good friendship with Jack Straw during their duties as counterparts, saying: “Suffice it to recall Jack’s efforts and contributions to many issues in our recent diplomatic history from the Iraqi crisis, Afghanistan, the negotiations regarding the Cyprus issue and the initiation of the negotiation process toward Turkey’s membership in the EU. Jack Straw is a good politician and diplomat who appreciates the 500-year Turkish-British friendship and alliance and who lends his corroboration for the cause of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. In this vein, I once again would like to offer my thanks to him for his resolute efforts to draw Great Britain and the world’s attention toward the injustices shown to the Turkish Cypriots. Jack Straw has the courage to reveal the truth in the international arena unlike many who agree with us behind closed doors but avoid proclaiming it explicitly in front of others.”
Jack Straw, the President continued, has cherished multiculturalism and approached the Islamic world in friendship. He lauded him for having an uncommon conscience which is badly needed in Europe in order to fight against racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, adding that he is a democrat who is making great efforts so that democracy, justice and human rights can take root in the whole of the world. Underscoring that Jack Straw has provided an institutional framework for Turkish-British friendship by co chairing the Turkish-British Tatlı Dil Forum, he declared:
“I am proud to bestow my dear friend Jack with the Order of the Republic Medal of Turkey for his valuable studies and efforts and I hope that this medal will serve as one of the most tangible demonstrations of our deep-rooted amity between our nations and countries.”
President Gül afterwards presented Jack Straw the Order of the Republic Medal of Turkey.
Offering his thanks to President Gül for his words, Jack Straw revealed his pride in being decorated with the Order of the Republic Medal of Turkey, saying that he sees it as a symbol of tribute for the friendship that the British people share with Turkey.
In both British Houses of Parliament, he stressed, there is a common understanding and approach as to the importance of developing and deepening Turkish-British bilateral relations. This is because, he stressed, they feel admiration for Turkey and the respect they have for the great achievements and development it has reached in recent years, extending his thanks to the First Couple for their sincere friendship for him and his spouse.