Koç Holding Honorary Chairman Rahmi Koç Receives Legion D honneur Medal From France
Rahmi M. Koç, the Honorary Chairman of Koç Holding, was awarded the Legion D'Honneur, the highest medal awarded by the French government since 1802. France's ambassador to Turkey Laurent Bili presented the medal to Mr. Koç at a ceremony at the French Palace in Istanbul. Bili said in his remarks at the ceremony that France was happy to count Rahmi M. Koç among its friends, and to recognize the professional and personal life of a valued citizen of the Turkish Republic through this honorary award ceremony. Bili said, "In addition to his activities in the business and finance worlds, another part of Rahmi M. Koç's extraordinary personality is his endless support for the development and advancement of his nation." Also speaking at the ceremony, Koç Holding Honorary Chairman Rahmi M. Koç said, "This is one of the most extraordinary evenings of my life. I will display this award with honor at my gallery, of which my children and grandchildren can be proud."
Koç Holding Honorary Chairman Rahmi M. Koç was named an “Officier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion D’Honneur,” a medal awarded by France since the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize exceptionally successful people from all over the world and considered France's most prestigious diplomatic medal. Honored with a State Medal of Distinguished Medal by the Presidency in 1997, Rahmi M. Koç has also received the German Great Cross of Merit, Order of High Merit of the Republic of Italy, Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Honorary) Medal, Hadrian Award, Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, BNP Paribas Philanthropy and Businessperson Social Responsibility Award. Laurent Bili: “Koç Family's name is synonymous not only with Turkey's historical and industrial development, but also with its intellectual and cultural advancement." Laurent Bili began his remarks at the ceremony by saying, "I would like to thank everyone who came to the French Palace to honor a unique person. This person is so extraordinary that the name of his family is synonymous with not only Turkey's historical and industrial development, but also its intellectual and cultural advancement." According to tradition, Bili shared notes from Rahmi M. Koç's professional and personal past and stated that Mr. Koç became Chairman of the Board of the Koç group in 1984 and served in this position for 20 years. Bili also pointed out that in addition to these positions, Rahmi M. Koç held important responsibilities in professional organizations, and that Koç Holding served as Turkey's industrial ambassador with world-renowned brands such as Arçelik and Beko. Saying that another part of Rahmi M. Koç's extraordinary character was his support for the development and advancement of his country, Bili stated, "I know from my own experience 2 with my son that whenever you say the name Koç, young people immediately think of Koç University, an institution that became in a matter of a few short years one of Turkey's most recognized schools, and entered into student exchange programs and scholarly cooperation with France." Bili highlighted the American Hospital and Rahmi M. Koç Museum, and said, "This museum reflects Mr. Koç's passion for technology, advancement, and sailing." Bili mentioned that Rahmi M. Koç crossed all the seas in the world for two years, visiting five continents and over 50 ports, and said he invented a new word to describe him: globe sailor. Describing his happiness at presenting Rahmi M. Koç with the “Officier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion D’Honneur” medal, Laurent Bili said, “France is glad to see you among her friends and to recognize the professional and personal career of a valued citizen of the Turkish Republic through this award ceremony.” Rahmi M. Koç: “This is one of the most extraordinary evenings of my life." In his speech at the ceremony, Rahmi M. Koç said he was experiencing one of the most extraordinary evenings of his life, and said: "I have been to the Palais de France many times. I have always enjoyed my visit thoroughly and been hosted well. Everyone here knows why I am here this time. The most honorable ambassador has just awarded me the ‘Officier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion D’Honneur’ medal, which France has presented to its citizens and friends since the reign of Napoleon. Can there be a greater honor than this? I will display this award with honor at my gallery, of which my children and grandchildren can be proud. I would like to extend my gratitude in front of all of you to the honorable ambassador. You must surely know, he speaks excellent Turkish and he is a real friend of Turkey. He has skillfully managed the sensitive and delicate periods in Turkish-French relations. France and Turkey have been close friends since the days of the Ottoman Empire and the French Empire. Our tradesmen and scholars were always in touch. Although the entire European Continent was against France after the revolution, the Ottoman Empire upheld its relations with the New France, as well as the Napoleonic Empire. The last great empire to join the Anti-Napoleonic league was the Ottoman Empire. We always received diplomatic support from France during wars against Austria and Russia throughout the 18th century. France was our ally in the Crimean War of 1853. The French language guided us in our Foreign Affairs organization, the cultural sphere in Pera, and in the fields of medicine and engineering. This guidance was so strong that until the 1970s, Turkey's diplomatic language was French. French philosophy and literature also played an influential role. Rahmi M. Koç: “It is my most heartfelt wish to see this cooperation, as well as bilateral investments between France and Turkey, grow.” Pointing out that the trade volume between Turkey and France was 12 billion euro, Rahmi M. Koç said there were 300 companies in Turkey that had French capital. Mr. Koç said these companies were operating in the automobile, banking and insurance, pharmaceutical, and food industries, and added, "It is my most heartfelt wish to see this cooperation, as well as bilateral investments between France and Turkey, grow. I also hope France's relations with Turkey will grow closer, and France will look favorably upon Turkey's integration into the European Union."
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