Ambassador Hakan Okcal of the Republic of Turkey hosted a reception at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 31, 2015 to celebrate the Armed Forces Day of Turkey.
Many distinguished guests attended the party from all walks of life from Korean society as well as the ambassadors and other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Offhand, there were Minister Park Sung-choon of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Chairman Chi Kap-chong of the UN Korean War Allies Association Korean War and representatives of business, social, cultural and many other organizations such as media, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
There also were many dignitaries from the international community, particularly the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, from which attended many mission chiefs. Among them, within the range of camera and editorial space, were Ambassadors Mohammad SaleemSayeb of Afghanistan, Md. Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh, Dato Paduka Haji Modh Rosli Bin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, SylvestreKouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana, John A. Prasetio of Indonesia, Khalil Ismai Abdul Sahib Al-Mosawi of Iraq, Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal, Bill Veri of Papua New Guinea, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Alexander AndreevichTomonin of Russia, Fahad Almutairi of Saudi Arabia (charge d’affaires [CDA]), Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Mark W. Lippert of the United States of America, BotirjonAsadov of Uzbekistan, Ms. Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela (CDA), and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
Presence of Ambassador Lippert of the US attracted the attention of many Korean guests as he is rarely seen at diplomatic and other social functions attended by the ambassadors and Korean guests.
The Turkish Armed Forces Day reception was also a happy occasion for the Embassy defense attache. New Defense and Army Attache Colonel Osman Doganbey was promoted from the rank of lieutenant colonel as of August 30, and according to the customs, Ambassador Okcal and Mrs. Doganbey pinned a new star each on the shoulders of Colonel Doganbey from both sides.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Okcal said: “Nations may fight wars, but once war is over, there is a need to build peace and extend the hand of friendship to the former foe. This is our responsibility to the future generations for a better world. There cannot and should not be eternal or protracted enmities. This is the basic lesson Atat?rk has taught us. A lesson which I think is even more valid in our present day.”
Ambassador Okcal said it for many people who have already been following the idea and carrying it into action and also those who are unable to do so and still dwell on the unfortunate history between each other. And in the latter case, blame goes much to the wrongdoers who try not to admit the history and thereby make the victim country and countries feel sad. (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Okcal of Turkey:
This day, which we observe for the 93rd time since 1922, marks the end of a long liberation war under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk that has been embarked upon under difficult conditions on the Black Sea city of Samsun in May 1919 against invasion and occupation after the First World War.
The victory finally won in Afyon, central western Anatolia, on 30 August 1922 did not only end the occupation of the country, but also led to the foundation of a modern republic based on international values and enlightenment.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish Forces, Mustafa Kemal, who was later bestowed by 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 for attaining the level of modern nations in a short span of time. The guiding principle of our foreign policy that we still cherish with pride is formulated by Atat?rk’s well-known motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”. When the war of liberation was won, Atat?rk did not hesitate even a second to extend an olive branch to the foe for peace and reconciliation.
Atat?rk, in the same spirit, later on called on to 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 consoled, 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.
And let me here express my appreciation and thank Minister Park for his kind attendance representing the President of the Republic of Korea at the Hundredth Year Commemoration Ceremonies of the Gallipoli War that were held in ?anakkale in April together with many foreign dignitaries.
As I humbly said last year, nations may fight wars, but once war is over, there is a need to build peace and extend the hand of friendship to the former foe. This our responsibility to the future generations for a better world. There cannot and should not be eternal or protracted enmities. This is the basic lesson Atat?rk has taught us. A lesson which I think is even more valid in our present day.
We take great pride in the fact that the Turkish Army stood by the Korean nation in defending its independence, freedom and democracy during the Korean War. As you may know, many of our fallen heroes are eternally resting in the Korean soil together with their Korean comrades. Our two nations have forged a special friendship which we today call the “blood brotherhood”. May all fallen heroes of the Korean War rest in peace.
The Turkish Army also defended and upheld the democratic values as a staunch member of NATO during the long and difficult decades of the cold war. Today Turkey's presence and value may have well increased in our changing world. As you all know, the immediate vicinity of Turkey around its south-eastern borders are marred with war, vicious crimes against humanity, terrorism, extremism, ethnic and religious hatred and sectarianism. I am pleased to note that the Turkish Army is living up to its international responsibilities as a coalition member as well as a NATO member in the fight against the DAESH terrorism. We will also not relent against separatist terror which has resumed its attacks recently.
Turkish Officers are promoted to higher ranks on the Victory Day. I am pleased to inform you that our new Defense and Army Attache has been promoted rank of Colonel as of 30 August. According to our customs his Spouse Mrs. Do?anbey and I will be decorating Col. Osman Do?anbey with an additional star for his new rank. Let us congratulate him.