By Diyar Guldogan and Handan Kazanci
U.S. Secretary of State Rex received the highest recognition of the World Petroleum Council, the Dewhurst Award, in Istanbul on Sunday.
Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO from 2006 to 2016, received the award for his “outstanding contribution to the oil and gas industry".
Addressing the 22nd World Petroleum Congress, the largest meeting of the oil and gas industry, Tillerson said at the Istanbul Convention Center: "I am humble to receive this recognition."
Tillerson said his success was the result of his team and whole staff of ExxonMobil.
He also said Turkey was an "important" partner in the promotion of greater energy security since it has been at the crossroads of energy resources, along supply roads.
"The U.S looks forward to engage with Turkey on projects that will increase global energy security such as the Southern Gas Corridor and Eastern Mediterranean Gas," he added.
The Southern Gas Corridor, which plans to carry Azeri gas all the way to Italy, is considered critical for Europe's future energy needs and for lowering dependence on Russian gas.
The project is planned to be operational in 2018 with an initial capacity to carry 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azeri gas through Georgia to Turkey.
Tillerson said these projects will enable Europe to diversify its energy sources, thereby improving its energy security.
The diplomat took also a moment to recognize the courage and honor the victims of last year's deadly coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey.
"Nearly a year ago, the Turkish people, brave men and women, stood up against coup plotters and defended their democracy," Tillerson said.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated July 2016 coup, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Tillerson is the tenth recipient of the Dewhurst Award in the history of the WPC since its inception in 1993 when the then president of the Institute of Petroleum in U.K., Thomas Dewhurst, organized what was to become the first World Petroleum Congress.
After the congress, Tillerson is to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Tarabya Presidential Residence, also in Istanbul.
Erdogan is expected to address the congress on Monday.
High-level executives from leading energy companies and up to 50 energy ministers will be attending the congress, of which the theme is "Bridges to our Energy Future".
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