The Turkish community in the United States awarded former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey, Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan and other prominent figures with TOA (TurkofAmerica) Distinguished Friends of Turkey awards.
The awards sponsored by Turkish Airlines and organized by TurkofAmerica magazine and TOA Consulting were presented to 39 recipients in a ceremony at the Harvard Club in New York. U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, whose wife Lola was among the recipients, also attended the ceremony. "Turkey has been a long-standing ally; certainly we are regional strategic partners. It's important to have a long-term relationship that's cordial, that works well with each other. It's important not only for the two nations, but also for the region and the world," Ryan Zinke told Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sidelines of the event.
James Jeffrey, who was a U.S. ambassador in Turkey between 2008 and 2010, received an award in the international relations category. Jeffrey, a career diplomat, is known for his stance with Turkey, especially in the country's fight against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). FETÖ's leader and senior cadres reside in the United States.
Lindsay Lohan won Turkish hearts with her work with Syrian refugees who took shelter in Turkey. Other recipients included Robert Wexler and Ed Whitfield, former Congress members who founded the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkish relations; writer Katharine Branning, who is known for her books on Turkey; Eric Adams, mayor of Brooklyn who signed a sister city agreement with Istanbul's Üsküdar district; and Lawrence M. Kaye, the attorney who represented Turkey for the return of artifacts originally owned by Turkey from a New York museum.