Turkey-Korea mark 60th year of ties

By Rachel Lee

Turkey will this year present a wide range of events to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Korea, Turkey’s top envoy said.

“Within this context, a series of cultural, commercial, academic and sports events are envisaged to be organized in Korea by the Turkish government throughout this year,” Turkish Ambassador Arslan Hakan Okcal said at a press briefing at the embassy in Seoul on March 2.

The cultural calendar will feature the “Colours of Anatolia”, a collage of stage performances scheduled for November at the Sejong Center; a photo exhibition reflecting Turkey’s participation in the Korean War, in collaboration with the War Memorial Museum of Korea, in June-August; a performance by the Ottoman military band “Mehter,” and activities for children, according to the embassy.

“We will stage performances and also have examples of traditional Turkish music, besides well-known military marches,” the ambassador said.

“The Turkish cultural panorama would be incomplete without Turkish cuisine. I am happy to announce that the Turkish Food Festival will be held at Grand Hyatt Seoul Hotel.” The event is slated for Aug. 30-September, following the Turkish Victory Day Reception.

Calling Korea a “strategic partner,” Okcal said that the two countries have forged a “deep-rooted” friendship that has evolved into a unique “blood brotherhood.

“As you all know, Turkey joined the Korean War under the UN Command in 1950, in order to support the Republic of Korea’s struggle for freedom, democracy and independence, and suffered heavy casualties to this end,” the diplomat said.

“Based on such sound foundations, the relations between Turkey and Korea have further strengthened and matured over time.”

The envoy highlighted rapidly developing cooperation in cultural and academic sectors.

“Tourism has flourished between Turkey and Korea in recent years, owing to the interest of Koreans in the ancient and cultural sites in Turkey, such as Istanbul’s historical center, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Troy and the Turkish southern coastline adorned with ancient ruins,” he said.

In addition to the cultural events, Ankara is aiming to have several high-level visits and hold academic panels and business gatherings, the envoy said.

The embassy also announced that renovation and remodelling at a new embassy building will be done during spring.

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