The American Friends of Turkey (AFOT) has a long tradition of bringing the sights, sounds, history and culture of this rich country to the American people. Periodically there comes a time when an American has, through his or her achievements, contributed so significantly to the strengthening of the people-to-people relations that AFOT awards them the Distinguished Citizen Award
. This year that award went to John Freely, professor, author and scholar.
Over the decades, Freely increased the knowledge of hundreds of thousands Americans about Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, and the region, through his outstanding books, such as Strolling Through Istanbul
and Constantinople: Imperial City
. With over 60 books to his credit, Freely has shared his knowledge and scholarship in subjects ranging from Ottoman architecture and art to historical treatises of lesser-known nonetheless important figures, such as the Rabbi Sabbatai, exemplified by The Lost Messiah
Freely has taught physics at Robert College and most recently at Bogazici University. Some earlier recipients of the AFOT Distinguished Citizen Award have been Congressman Stephen Solarz, Dr. Warren Winkler, and General Fred Haynes, U.S. Marine Corps.
The ceremony and reception took place September 23 at the U.S Consul General's Residence. Nina Solarz, AFOT board president, presented Freely with a handpainted reproduction of a 1572 map of The Golden Horn.