An acclaimed Turkish film director Ferzan Ozpetek received Italian Order of Merit, country’s highest honor, in Rome on Monday.

Ferzan Ozpetek, born in Istanbul but a longtime resident of Italy, received the Commendatore (Commander) Order of Merit under a decree signed by Italian President Sergio Mattarella this June.

“I like it so much. Before that I had the title of ‘knighthood’, now the ‘Commendatore’ order came. I’m glad that Italians have embraced me like this,” Ozpetek told Anadolu Agency.

Read more: Turkish film director receives Italian Order of Merit