Noted Pakistani writer and poet Amjad Islam Amjad received the prestigious Nacip Fazil International Culture and Art Award at a ceremony Saturday in Istanbul.

The award ceremony has been held annually since 2014 by Turkey’s Star newspaper in cooperation with the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The award was organized to honor the cultural and literary heritage of Necip Fazil Kisakurek, one of the most important literary figures of Turkey whose poetry, fiction and political writings had a profound impact on the country’s new generations. Kisakurek died in 1983.

Amjad -- the first foreign recipient of the award -- was chosen for his contributions in creating remarkable impressions in the literary and artistic world.

Congratulating Amjad for receiving the award, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Amjad is one of the important poets of modern Urdu literature and a prominent figure from Pakistan who apart from literature has careers in journalism and scriptwriting.

Erdogan said Pakistan is a brotherly country and cherished friend of Turkey.

He noted that while relationships are based on mutual benefits, Turkey and Pakistan’s friendship is exemplary for the entire world as it is based on sincerity and solidarity.

Erdogan went on to say that the heart-to-heart brotherly ties between the two countries would be further strengthened in the days to come.

Amjad received the award from Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.

In his acceptance speech, he thanked the jury for considering his works.

He said Turkey is close to every Pakistani’s heart, adding receiving the award in the presence of Turkey’s president was a great honor.

“I consider Erdogan the greatest leader of the Muslim world in present times,” he added.