Turkey's Foreign Ministry has honored Seyfi Tashan, the Turkish foreign diplomacy guru who founded the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute in 1974 and has been serving as its president.
Speaking at a honorary ceremony in the Turkish Foreign Ministry's headquarters in Ankara on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "Seyfi Tashan is considered as a guru in Turkish diplomacy, serving more than 40 years as the president of the Foreign Policy Institute and being a guiding light to the ministry as well."
Cavusoglu said Tashan's impact on Turkey's outlook from the international aspect had played an important role, especially in the Council of Europe.
"I am always proud to see how Seyfi Tashan is mentioned in the Council of Europe by foreign parliament members, which is all love and respect," Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu then presented a plaque to Tashan to recognize his efforts.
Tashan responded by saying he had been working with the foreign ministry for more than 40 years, especially with the ministry's general directorate of political planning.
He said: "Turkey has evolved from being just a marginal, small country ... to become an important hub in the region.
"I mentioned my prospects regarding Turkey in the late 1990s in (U.K.-based international affairs think tank) Chatham House. They didn't believe me back then."
Tashan also said that, because of Turkey's impact now, Europe has to work with Turkey "closer than ever."
"Nobody can shove Turkey aside anymore," he said.
Seyfi Tashan was born in Ankara in 1925 and worked for the government between 1945 and 1955 in various duties, as a radio commentator for international affairs and as a head of the public relations section in the Department of Information.
Tashan worked in the private sector as a diplomacy correspondent from 1955 to 1974 and in 1974 he founded the Foreign Policy Institute -- the first Turkish think-tank on international affairs.
Tashan was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in 1989, the first-ever to be presented to a non-ministry member.
Tashan's daughter Aylin Tashan is currently serving as Turkey's ambassador to Mozambique.