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50 Years of Korea-Turkey Ties Marked in Seoul
By David Choi
Staff Reporter
Turkish Ambassador to Seoul Deniz Ozmen (3rd from right) poses with S. Korean politicans in a Seoul reception marking the 50th anniversary of the mutual ties between Seoul and Ankara.

Turkish Ambassador to Seoul Deniz Ozmen hosted a reception at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on March 8, 2007 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Turkey.

The reception held at 6:30 p.m. on the day drew over 300 guests including top foreign envoys serving in Seoul and local politicians. After the reception recital was held by the singers of the Turkish State Opera at the theater's small hall of "Dal (Moon)" to mark the "Year of Korea-Turkey Friendship."

The cultural event was thrown in accordance with the agreement reached between South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun and Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in 2005 summit. The two leaders agreed to declare as "Year of Korea-Turkey Friendship" the year 2007, which marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Seoul and Ankara.

Among the foreign ambassadors, who attended the reception and the performance, were US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, Russian Ambassador Gleb A. Ivashentsov, and Moroccan Ambassador Ahmed Bourzaim.

Korean members Korea-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Association were also present. The lawmakers were Park Chan-Sook, Park Seung-Hwan, Lee Jai-Chang, and Lee Keun-Sik.

From the Korean government came Minister Roh Jun-Hyong of the Ministry of Information and Communication. He delivered a congratulatory speech.

In the speech Minister Roh conveyed President Roh Moo-Hyun's message for mutual friendship to the guests.

Among the participants were several men and women who grew at an orphanage called "Ankara Academy," set up in Suwon by the Turkish soldiers in the wake of the Korean War (1950-53).

On the same day in the Turkish capital of Ankara was held a traditional Korean music and dance performance by the Korean national Center for Performing Arts at the 125 Yil Cayyolu Theater to the 50th anniversary of the mutual relations. About 600 diplomats and cultural representatives of Turkey and South Korean gathered for the event.

In this "Year of Korea-Turkey Friendship" a number of cultural events are planned between Ankara and Seoul and in other major cities of the two nations, as agreed in the summit of the two leaders two years earlier.

Turkey and South Korean have developed mutual ties and friendship since the establishment of diplomatic relations on March 8 1957.

But their friendship goes back to 1950 when the Korean War broke out. As many as 30,000 Turkish soldiers participated in the tragic war. Among the 16 nations which sent soldiers to South Korea, Turkey was the fourth country only after the United State, United Kingdom, and Canada in size of the participating troops.

A number of South Korean are grateful to Turkey for the blood Turkish soldiers shed during the Korean War. Many Koreans consider Turkish people as brothers and sisters, calling Turkey as "brother country."

The cordial friendship between the two countries was also emphasized during the 2002 FIFA World Cup when the South Koreans welcomed and supported the Turkish players.

Mr. David Choi, who studied at business at Kangwon National University, serves as staff reporter of The Seoul Times. He also studied photo art at Sungkyunkwan University’s graduate school. Mr. Choi covers a variety of areas including diplomatic, travel, and business areas. His hobbies includes snowboarding and watching movies






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