UPDATE : 2018.11.20 TUE 17:59
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Amb. Okcal accents increasing cooperation, relations between Korea, TurkeyCJ M&E, SK, Hanwha, Daelim C&E active in Turkey

By Ms. Sua Kim (The Korea Post staff reporter)

Ambassador Hakan Okcal of the Republic of Turkey in Seoul said, “As we celebrate the 94th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation is proud of its achievements that transformed the country into a regional power. The Republic of Turkey is a source of inspiration for many nations around the world.” These remarks were made by Ambassador Hakan Okcal of the Republic of Turkey in Seoul at a gala reception he and Madam Okscal hosted at the spacious Crystal Ballroom of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Oct. 30, 2017.

Ambassador Hakan Okcal of Turkey makes a welcome speech.

Then he said that “this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Republic of Korea who enjoy a long history of brotherhood that dates well beyond the establishment of diplomatic relations.”
Ambassador Okcal also described active cooperation between the two countries in the field of economy and business.
He stated that Korean companies are actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between the two countries conducive to the enhancement of relations in all other fields.
Ambassador Okcal said, “CJ M&E group's acquisition of around 800 million US Dollars of the Turkish Mars media and entertainment group was indicative and outstanding and I am sure that the marriage of Turkish and Korean media and entertainment sectors will bring benefits to all markets that they are active in and set better standards.”

Rep. Ahn Min-suk makes a congratulatory speech.

Then he said that the Eurasia Tunnel built by Korean SK and Turkish Yapi Merkezi E&C companies has fulfilled an old dream of Istabulites by connecting Asian and European continents under the Bosphorus Strait at a depth of 100 meters.
“This two-layered road tunnel,” said Ambassador Okcal, “which has been inaugurated on 20 December 2016 is an engineering masterpiece.”
Ambassador Okcal had a long string of Korean companies contributing to the development and growth of the economy and social welfare in Turkey.
He said, “Hanwha Energy together with its Turkish counterpart Kalyon, has won the bidding of building Turkey’s largest solar energy plant in central Anatolian Konya Karapinar and, again, the Korean SK and Daelim C&E companies together with their Turkish partners Yapi Merkezi and Limak won the mega project of building the world’s longest suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Strait that will once more connect the Asian and European continents.” (See excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Okcal toward end of this report.)

Ambassador Hakan Okcal of the Republic of Turkey (8th from left, front row) poses with other ambassadors and guests. The other guests are, from left, Ambassadors Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos of Bolivia (charge d’affaires), Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Bruno Figueroa Fischer of Mexico, Arjun Jung Bahadur Singh of Nepal, Aleksandr Timonin of Russia, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Vitali Fen of Uzbekistan, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Albino Malungo of Angola, Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia, Chafik Rachadi of Morocco, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Olexander Horin of Ukraine, Mihai Ciompic of Romania, and Ruben Eloy Arosemena Aaldes of Panama.

Ambassador Okcal also noted the valuable contribution made by the Turkish troops during the Korean War to the defense of freedom and democracy in Korea from the Communist North Korean Armed Forces. The Turkish troops in Korea are widely known for their valor and courage which greatly contributed to safe-guarding the peace and democracy which the Korean people enjoy today.
The Turkish troops took part in many battles and contacts with the enemy and made great contributions to the defense of the ROK. Among the noted battles with the enemy are the Battle of Kunuri, the Chorwon-Seoul Diversion, the Taegyewon Defense, the Barhar-Kumhwa Attacks and the Vegas Battle during the Tattle of the Hook.

Ambassador Hakan Okcal of Turkey is flanked on the right by Rep. Ahn Min-suk of the ruling Democratic Party and Maj. Gen. Thomas S. James of US Army on the left.

Ambassador Okcal’s speech was followed by congratulatory remarks by Rep. Ahn Min-suk of the ruling Democratic Party. Rep. Ahn said in part:
“Do you recall the people protesting beneath candlelight last winter in Gwanghwamun Square? This great movement consisted of voluntary and peaceful demonstrations by the Korean people, aimed at protecting democracy. We were able to do this because brave Turkish soldiers fought for democracy on the Korean Peninsula back in 1950. Their tremendous spirit made it possible for the Republic of Korea to emerge as a small, but strong country. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation on behalf of the Korean people.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this article.)
The spacious ballroom that night was literally ‘packed to the brim’ by the VIP guests from all walks of life from Korean society as well as from the Turkish and other segments of the international community in Korea, the Seoul Diplomatic Corps in particular.

Mrs. Pinar Okcal (6th from the left), spouse of the ambassador of Turkey, poses with the spouses of other ambassadors.

Among the Korean guests were many VVIP guests who included Rep. Ahn Min-suk and Chairman Park Tong-sun of Parkington International. From the mass communications world also came representatives who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media with the key members of his editorial and management team.


Excerpts from the congratulatory speech of Ambassador Okcal:
Thank you very much for attending the Turkish national day reception which marks the foundation of the Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk 94 years ago on October 29th, 1923, inspired by a vision of modernization, secularism and enlightenment. This vision is guiding Turkey to further develop and reach the highest standards in every field.
As we celebrate the 94th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation is proud of its achievements that transformed the country into a regional power. The Republic of Turkey is a source of inspiration for many nations around the world.

Mrs. Maria Ana Hernandez is flanked by her husband (Ambasador Raul Hernandez of the Philippines) on the right and Ambassador Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay on th left.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Republic of Korea who enjoy a long history of brotherhood that dates well beyond the establishment of diplomatic relations.
In my brief remarks, I intend to touch upon the current situation of Turkey, Turkey-Korea relations after 60 years of diplomatic relations and the 2017 Turkey-Korea Culture Year activities that we have organized for celebrating the 60th year.
As I already mentioned, Turkey and Korea have always enjoyed good relations since the inception of their relations which go back to a distant history.
The participation of the Turkish troops in the Korean War has transformed our friendship into a unique “blood brotherhood”. The Turkish people always take pride in the fact that our soldiers fought in the Korean War defending democracy and freedom. We appreciate that Turkey's sacrifices during the war have never been forgotten by the noble Korean people. Our feelings towards each other are mutual. I can assure you that Koreans also have a very special place in the hearts of the Turkish people.

Photo shows Ambassador Hakan Okcal of Turkey (12th from left, standing) with the defense attaches from various countries. Defense Attache Brig. Gen. Hector Francisco Moran Gonzalez of Mexico (dean of the Seoul Defense Attaches Corps) is seen second from left.Defense Attaches Col. Ozcan Yildiz and Lt. Col. Tuncay Tunca of Turkey are seen 10th and 7th from left, respectively. (Photo caption will be updated upon completion of identification.)

Turkey is doing its utmost in bringing peace and stability to the volatile regions on its southern borders like it did once in the Korean war.
In accordance with the agreement reached in Astana, Turkish troops are deployed in Idlip, Syria to prevent hostilities and monitor ceasefire violations. Turkey is also following the situation closely after the null and void referendum staged on 25 September. Preserving the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq as well as Syria are basic tenets of our Middle East policy. This is prerequisite for lasting stability, peace, security and prosperity in the region.
Turkey is also supporting efforts for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. We join the international community in condemning North Korea’s missile and nuclear provocations and urge North Korea to respect its international obligations. Dialogue rather than threat of force should be promoted between the two Koreas.

Brig. Gen. Hector Francisco Moran Gonzalez of Mexico (right) and Publisher Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.

Today Turkey and Korea are “strategic partners" enjoying excellent relations and working together within world bodies such as the UN, G20, OECD and the recently established group MIKTA for a better world.
The Turkey-Korea FTA is one of the broadest agreements that Turkey ever signed with another nation. I am pleased to note that trade and human contacts are flourishing between our countries defeating all negative conjectural, regional and global influences. As Korean investments are increasing in Turkey--a strong indication of confidence for the Turkish economy--we must do more for a balanced trade which is hovering around 7-8 billion US Dollars in the longer run. I am sure this goal can be achieved given the high potential and robust qualities of both economies.
In the previous years I spoke about Hyundai Motor Company's production increase in their Izmit plant and other joint ventures. Although 2016 was an ominous year shadowed by a number of terror attacks staged by different terror groups and a vicious coup attempt by the FETO terror group that resulted in the loss of 250 innocent lives, the Korean business community never lost confidence in the Turkish economy and the bright future of Turkey.
CJ M&E group's acquisition of around 800 million US Dollars of the Turkish Mars media and entertainment group was indicative and outstanding. I am sure that the marriage of Turkish and Korean media and entertainment sectors will bring benefits to all markets that they are active in and set better standards.
The Eurasia Tunnel built by Korean SK and Turkish Yapi Merkezi E&C companies has fulfilled an old dream of Istabulites by connecting Asian and European continents under the Bosphorus Strait at a depth of 100 meters. This two-layered road tunnel which has been inaugurated on 20 December 2016 is an engineering masterpiece.
Hanwha Energy together with its Turkish counterpart Kalyon, has won the bidding of building Turkey’s largest solar energy plant in central Anatolian Konya Karapinar. Again, Korean SK and Daelim C&E companies together with their Turkish partners Yapi Merkezi and Limak won the mega project of building the world’s longest suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Strait that will once more connect the Asian and European continents. These are few but noteworthy projects that underline the high level cooperation between our business communities.
Turkey has rapidly healed its wounds that were inflicted in 2016 and bounced back. The Turkish economy has proven its resilience and achieved OECD’s highest growth rate of over 5%, which has been positively revised by the IMF recently.
I am confident that Atatürk’s vision of reaching the level of most advanced countries are within the grasp of Turkey’s young generations.
Dear friends, As I mentioned, 2017 has been designated as the "Turkey-Korea Culture Year" in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries. Since the beginning of 2017 we have organized numerous activities in the cultural, academic, economic, social and diplomatic fields elevating our relations to higher levels. Only last week we organized a Turkish Film Festival in collaboration with the CGV Group. The opening film of the festival, “Ayla”, Turkey’s official candidate for the best foreign language Oscar brings the the heartwarming story of a Turkish soldier and a small Korean orphan girl during the Korean War onto the screen. Our gala concert “Colors of Anatolia” will take place at the Sejong Performing Arts Center on November the 2nd. I invite all interested friends to attend this concert which will the take spectators through a Turkish dance and music Odyssey.
Perhaps one of our best achievements during 2017 was to move into our wonderful new Embassy building in Jung-gu. I take great pride that we now own a beautiful and modern chancellery after 60 years.
Dear Friends,
As I conclude my words, I want to take this opportunity to bid farewell to you on behalf of my wife Pinar and myself, since my tenure in Korea is coming to an end in a very short time. I would like to thank the Korean authorities and the Korean people from all walks of life for the warm friendship, support and cooperation accorded to us during our four years stay in Korea.
We would also like to thank each and everyone of you for your remarkable friendship and solidarity. Our special thanks go to the Turkish Embassy staff beginning from the most senior member down to the most junior, who walked with us sometimes through hard times during the last four years.
It has been a wonderful experience and we will bring back fond memories of this friendly and vibrant country. I hope our paths will cross again in the future.


Congratulatory remarks by Rep. Ahn Min-suk:
It is a great pleasure and honor for me to send you a congratulatory message today at the commemorative event for the Republic Day of Turkey, on behalf of the government and people of the Republic of Korea. I would also like extend my deepest congratulations on the 94th anniversary of the republic's founding day.
Turkey possesses unique charm and is home to both Asian and European cultures due to its geological location. As the head of the Turkish Korean Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, I hope exchanges with the always remarkable nation of Turkey will increase further in the future. In addition, it is noteworthy that this year marks the 60th year since Turkey and Korea established diplomatic relations. I look forward to our continued bilateral partnership over the next one or two centuries, based on our heartfelt relations and trust.
Do you recall the people protesting beneath candlelight last winter in Gwanghwamun Square? This great movement consisted of voluntary and peaceful demonstrations by the Korean people, aimed at protecting democracy. We were able to do this because brave Turkish soldiers fought for democracy on the Korean Peninsula back in 1950. Their tremendous spirit made it possible for the Republic of Korea to emerge as a small, but strong country. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation on behalf of the Korean people.
Turkey and Korea are blood brothers. I wish the Turkish Republic continued prosperity.

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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