May 16, 2012 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is proud to announce that His Excellency Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, will be presented with the UMD Macedonia Friendship Award at the UMD Gala in Chicago on May 19, 2012, in advance of the NATO Summit.
“We are very pleased that Minister Davutoglu will be attending the Gala in Chicago that we are organizing in honor of President Ivanov. As Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Davutoglu has worked tirelessly to strengthen the bonds of friendship between Turkey and Macedonia. This is a key strategic partnership for both countries, which promotes stability and security in Southeast Europe from within the NATO community,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov.
Turkey has been a long-time ally to Macedonia, and was one of the first countries to recognize the nation internationally by its constitutional name in 1991. As stated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Macedonia has a natural right to use its constitutional name under which it became an independent state. We see the Greek position as unreasonable and unjust. We cannot comprehend any additions such as upper, lower or northern. We live in a global world where peace and understanding should prevail.”
There has been high-level economic cooperation between the two countries over the last 20 years, contributing to increased prosperity and commerce in both countries. As well, there has been close military cooperation, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry working diligently to ensure Macedonia’s eventual membership into NATO. The Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki is on an official visit to Turkey this week. Leaders of both nations visit each other’s respective countries on a fairly regular basis.
The UMD Macedonia Friendship Award is given to individuals who have been long-standing friends of Macedonia and the global Macedonian community. Past recipients have included Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, Vermont National Guard Major General Michael D. Dubie, Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI), Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), former Congressman Mark Souder (R-IN), former Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), former Congressman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), Ambassador Christopher Hill, Ambassador Philip Reeker, Victor Friedman, Jason Miko, and Dr. Yalcin Ayasli.
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