Ambassador Arslan Hakan Okcal and Defense and Army Attache Col. Salih Ataman of the Republic of Turkey hosted a reception at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 29, 2014 in celebration of the Victory of their country.
There were many important guests from Korean government and other segments of soceity and the international community as well as the Diplomatic Corps of Korea.
From the Korean side came Minister Park Sungchoon of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and representatives of the business community and the media, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
From the Diplomatic Corps came many mission chiefs and defense attaches, including Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Suth Dina of Cambodia, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait, Duishonkul Chotonov of Kyrgyzstan, Sergio Mercuri of Italy, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Konstantin V.
Vnukov of Russia, Zoran Kazazovic of Serbia, Tissa Wijeratne of Sri Lanka, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan and Bakhtier N. Ibragimov of Uzbekistan (CDA).
In addition to the auspicious Victory Day, there was another cause for celebration and it was the promotion of Defense and Army Attche Col. Salih Atama from the Lieutenant Colonel and the Naval Attache of Turkey to the rank of Captain from Lieutenant Commander. Minister Park and Ambassador Okcal pinned the new insignia of rank to Turkish defense attaches.
Minister Park spoke to the guests congratulating the Victory Day of Turkey and cited instances of invaluable sacrifices and contribution made by the Turkish troops in Korea during the Korean War (1950-3) to the defense of freedom and democracy of the Republic of Korea.
Miniser Park’s congratulatory speech was followed by a welcome speech of Ambassador Okcal. He said: “This day, which we observe for the 92nd time since 1922 marks the end of a long struggle waged by Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk and his friends that was started on the Black Sea city of Samsun in May 1919 against invasion and occupation after the First World War.”
Then he said, “We take great pride in the fact that the Turkish Army stood-by the Koran nation in defending its independence, freedom and democracy during the Korean War.
The Turkish Brigade’s casualties were the highest among UNC participating troops by ratio. As our fallen soldiers are eternally resting in the Korean soil, our two nations have forged a strong friendship which we call the “blood brotherhood”.
As we respectfully bow before their memory, may the souls of all martyrs of the Korean War rest in peace.”
Excerpts from Ambassador Okcal’s speech follow:
I would like to warmly welcome you all to our Victory Day reception which we celebrate as our Armed Forces Day. This day, which we observe for the 92nd time since 1922 marks the end of a long struggle waged by Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk and his friends that was started on the Black Sea city of Samsun in May 1919 against invasion and occupation after the First World War.
However, the epic battle won in Afyon, central western Anatolia, on 30 August 1922 did not only culminate with the libration of the country from foreign occupiers, but also led to the foundation of a modern republic based on western values in 1923.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish Forced, Mustafa Kemal, who was later bestowed with the Turkish Parliament with the surname Atat?rk, the father of all Turks, founded the republic of Turkey on a vision of peace and progress. That is why the guiding principle of our foreign policy that we still cherish with pride is Atat?rk’s well-known motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”.
Atat?rk, in the same spirit, called on the mothers of the fallen ANZAC troops that he himself was fighting against on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915, to wipe away their tears and be condoled, because their sons had become also the sons of Turkey who were lying together with their Turkish comrades in the same soil who bravely fought in the Gallipoli battle against each other.
Again in the same spirit, when Atat?rk refused to trample on the enemy flag saying that a flag represented an entire nation, the war was over and he had no intention to offend any nation as entered the enemy military headquarters in Izmir right after the victory won in Afyon, he actually was stretching an olive branch, which is after all a basic vegetation of the Aegean region, immediately after the war to the foe.
Nations may fight wars, but once the war is over, there is a need to build peace and extend the hand of friendship to the former foe. This is our responsibility for the future generations for a better world.
One should not extract eternal enmities and hatreds from history. This is the basic lesson Atat?rk has taught the Turkish nation and the world. A lesson I think, must still be learned in our present day.
We take great pride in the fact that the Turkish Army stood-by the Koran nation in defending its independence, freedom and democracy during the Korean War. The Turkish Brigade’s casualties were the highest among UNC participating troops by ratio. As our fallen soldiers are eternally resting in the Korean soil, our two nations have forged a strong friendship which we call the “blood brotherhood”. As we respectfully bow before their memory, may the souls of all martyrs of the Korean War rest in peace.
The Turkish Army also gallantly defended and upheld the democratic values of the western world in the eastern flank of NATO during the long and difficult years of the cold war.
Today the importance and value of the Turkish Army’s presence may have well increased in our changing world. As you all know, the immediate regions around Turkey’s south-eastern borders are raging with war, vicious crimes against humanity, terrorism, unprecedented extremism, ethnic and religious hatred and sectarianism.
I am proud that the Turkish Army is living up to its traditional in the international field and defending the democratic values that NATO stands for.
Yesterday was a historic day in the history of the Turkish democracy.
As you all know, first time in our history the President of the Republic of Turkey has been elected by direct popular vote and our 12th President, HE Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken-up his Office at festive handover ceremony in Ankara attended by a high number dignitaries.
We are pleased that Foreign Minister Yun Byun-se was among the foreign representative present at the inauguration ceremony. Let us wish our newly elected President success in bringing Turkey to further heights.
As it is our custom, officers who are promoted to higher ranks receive their insignia at a ceremony on the Victory Day.
There will be two promotions: Our Navy and Air Force Attaches will be promoted one rank higher as of today. Let us congratulate them.
As I end my short speech here, I want to thank you for your kind attendance at our Victory Day reception.
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