Chief Inspector Mustafa Kemal was awarded an Overseas Territories Police and Fire Service Medal for his “meritorious service” in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) police, having joined in 1991.
He is believed to be the first Turkish Cypriot to receive the honour.
Matthew Kidd, who has been British High Commissioner since June last year, following an earlier stint from May 2010 to August 2014, was named a Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG), for his “exceptional services to UK-Cyprus relations”.
Chief Insp Kemal, 48, said he had “no idea” that he had been recommend for the medal, describing it as a “huge honour”.
“It is wonderful to be acknowledged for the job you have been doing for over 20 years,” he was quoted as saying.
He was born in Larnaca but now lives in the TRNC village of Mormenekşe with wife Cemile and works at the SBA police headquarters in Dhekelia. He has two children, a son aged 23 and an 18-year-old daughter.
His duties over the past 26 years have included combating bird trapping on the British bases but he said the “defining moment” in his career came in the 2001 riots, when 35 vehicles were torched and
Episkopi police station ransacked.
“Personally, I received a broken nose and various cuts and bruises,” Mr Kemal recalled.
“I had moments during that riot when I was concerned that something worse could happen to me or my fellow officers, but it changed my perspective on policing.
“That event gave me a whole new understanding of operational policing and how to look after your officers and I was able to build from there and forge a career I have been very proud of.”
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