News Center -TDO- M. İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines (THY), was honored with the “Ambassador to Japan Award” by the Government of Japan for his contribution to strengthening relations between Japan and Turkey, hosted by Japan's Ambassador to Turkey Akio Miyajima.

Ambassador Akio Miyajima, Ilker Ayci and his family, owner of the Nobel pharmaceutical company Hasan Ulusoy, Deputy Director General of the US Department of the MFA of the Republic of Turkey Tugay Tunçer and invited guests attended the award ceremony held at the embassy residence.

Ambassador Miyajima, who delivered the keynote speech, said:: “As Japan's Ambassador to Turkey, I present the Ambassador of Japan Award here today to express my deep gratitude for Mr. Ayci's contribution to the progress of business relations and cultural change between Japan and Turkey. At the same time, I would like to express my great pleasure as a friend of yours.

Mr. Ayci actively contributed to the development of relations between Japan and Turkey after his inauguration as president of the Turkish investment support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) in 2011. By informing more than five hundred Japanese companies about the investment environment, incentives and supports in Turkey, he has made great efforts to make the necessary arrangements for the investment environment. Furthermore, the memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in 2014 between Japan's Foreign Trade Organization (JETRO), has led to a jump in the strengthening of economic relations between our countries, which are strategic partners.

Mr. Ayci has been actively supporting the activities aimed at the development of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries since he became chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines in 2015.

This year, in July, during the Coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Airlines launched flights between Haneda and Istanbul. I also traveled on the first flight from Istanbul. I have no doubt that this will be a big plus in terms of mutual exchange between Japan and Turkey in both business and tourism.

With this award, I hope that Mr. Ilker Ayci, a close friend of Japan, will play an even greater role in the development of cultural and tourist relations between Japan and Turkey.

Dear Ayci, I sincerely congratulate you, your esteemed family and dear friends.

Although Japan and Turkey are geographically distant, our hearts are close, that is, “two states are one heart”.

İlker Aycı also made a speech and said: “Today, here at the Japanese Embassy, I am very happy to be among my friends. As you know very well, Turkey and Japan share a long history of friendship. Our countries may be geographically distant, but the Turkish and Japanese peoples are very close to each other in their hearts.

Since the visit of the Ottoman frigate Ertugrul to Japan in 1890 and the subsequent tragedy that created a strong bond between our nations, Love and sympathy for Japan and the Japanese people have been expressed in Turkey. Turkey and Japan, a series of high-level bilateral visits through Turkey's dynamism, skilled labor, and the lock position with excellent economy and Japan's technological power by combining successfully carried out many cooperation opportunities.

Besides Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports, we plan to launch flights to Osaka, another very important Japanese city, in the spring next year. As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, we look forward to adding Osaka to our extensive route network as well, although it will be carried out a year later than first planned. Of course, Turkish Airlines will be ready to transport sports fans around the world to Tokyo for the Olympics next summer.

Turkey and Japan, with their heart and consensus, have achieved great success. But greater achievements await us. Just as H. E. Abe once mentioned: “when it comes to cooperation between our countries, the border is the sky."

I also want to express my sincere gratitude to Miyajima-san for all his efforts and wish him success in his new mission.

As a true friend of Turkey, Miyajima-san will always have a special place in our hearts.

To celebrate this award ceremony, All Nippon Airways Chairman Katanozaka also sent a message.

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