Turkey is a “cultural powerhouse” with a wealthy European and Center Japanese historical past and cultural heritage and one of many world’s hottest vacationer locations, South Korea’s ambassador to Turkey informed Anadolu Company.
The ambassador mentioned Turkey’s high-quality vacationer applications will appeal to extra Korean vacationers and assist steadiness bilateral commerce.
Turkey and Korea “view one another as brother international locations,” Received Ik Lee mentioned in an unique interview with Anadolu Company on the eve of June “Memorial Day.”
“Since my arrival right here,” he mentioned, “all people right here had an excellent story to inform about Korea and the Korean folks, which shortly put me comfy and feeling at residence in Turkey.”
Whereas Koreans and Turks reportedly have interacted for hundreds of years, mentioned Lee, “an important second of our shared historical past is the Korean Battle.”
TURKISH BROTHERS LAID FOUNDATION OF ‘FREE KOREA’
He famous the contribution of Turkish troopers within the battle throughout the early Nineteen Fifties that helped South Korea achieve freedom. “The sacrifice of the Turkish brothers-in-arms laid the inspiration for the liberty and financial prosperity that Korea at this time enjoys, and it was little question the very basis of our precious bilateral relationship,” he mentioned.
The battle started June 25, 1950, when troops from Communist-ruled North Korea invaded South Korea. It ended with an armistice in 1953 that was by no means signed by the South, which cut up the Korean peninsula alongside the demilitarized zone close to the unique demarcation line into North and South Koreas.
Yearly, South Korea commemorates June 6 as Memorial Day, a public vacation in reminiscence of those that died throughout the battle.
“Because the ambassador of Korea, due to this fact, I’m putting the best precedence on any alternative to recollect and honor the Korean Battle veterans,” mentioned Lee, who assumed his put up in Ankara final November.
He added that “friendship and brotherhood” between Turkey and the South “grew right into a strategic partnership in 2012, and high-level exchanges have since been energetic.”
Turkey was the primary nation after the US to reply a UN’s request for navy assist to South Korea after the North attacked in 1950.
The primary Turkish brigade left Mersin Port in southern Turkey below the command of Brig. Gen. Tahsin Yazici on Sept. 17, arriving 26 days later in Busan.
Turkey despatched the fourth-highest variety of troops to Korea, with 4 brigades totaling 21,212 troopers.
It was third-ranked amongst 16 taking part international locations by way of casualties with greater than 900 martyrs, veterans and lacking in motion. The UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan bears 462 Turkish martyrs.
Ankara and Seoul have loved amicable relations because the Nineteen Fifties, with their leaders sustaining bilateral ties in addition to dialogue inside worldwide organizations such because the UN, G20 and MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Australia).
BILATERAL TRADE BOOST
Lee mentioned financial relations between Korea and Turkey have flourished previously decade.
“With the Korea-Turkey FTA [free trade agreement] in 2013, the commerce quantity reached $6.9 billion in 2020 and the cumulative Korean funding in Turkey numbered $3.5 billion as of 2020 year-end,” he mentioned.
Citing the “sturdy financial potential” of Turkey and infrastructure which is already in place, the ambassador mentioned: “We will increase areas of cooperation into data expertise, high-tech areas, the protection trade, and so on.”
In addition to financial cooperation, he added that human and cultural exchanges are essential.
He mentioned within the pre-coronavirus pandemic period, “there was a gentle enhance of Korean guests to Turkey, reaching 200,000 in 2019.”
“Korean writers, cinemas, and musicians are beloved by many Turkish younger folks these days. Elevated human and cultural change leads to nearer bonds and friendships between Korean and Turkish folks,” he mentioned.
Lee mentioned 97% of merchandise exported from Korea are “intermediate and capital items, that are assembled in Turkey and exported to a 3rd nation.”
He cited the Hyundai firm in Turkey which imports auto components from Korea, “produces round 200,000 vehicles yearly and sells 90% to Europe.”
“Likewise, most imports from Korea contribute to Turkey’s economic system by making value-added merchandise and rising Turkey’s exports,” he mentioned.
The commerce deficit “may be alleviated by inviting extra Korean small- and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] which give attention to procuring components and elements to Turkey,” mentioned Lee. “The SMEs can cooperate with Turkish companions to nurture intermediate industries and substitute the imported items with home manufacturing.”
About 130 Korean firms are working in Turkey, in response to the envoy. “However, most of them are massive firms and their suppliers comparable to Hyundai, Samsung, LG, and SK. Now could be the time to make an effort to ask SMEs,” he mentioned.
TURKEY ‘VERY ATTRACTIVE FOR INVESTMENT’
Lee mentioned Turkey is a “very enticing nation for funding not solely by way of the distinctive geopolitical location but additionally its excellent labor power and a flourishing home market.”
“The well-known Turkish hospitality towards Koreans can also be one of the vital enticing components for funding,” he mentioned.
“I [will] work to advertise Turkey’s FDI [foreign direct investment] and Free Zone insurance policies to the Korean firms focused on Turkey,” he mentioned.
As a diplomat, he mentioned: “I’ve had many alternatives to see everywhere in the world, however I am at all times amazed by Turkey’s ample historical past, cultural range, and delightful pure atmosphere.”
He mentioned with enchancment within the post-pandemic state of affairs, “extra Koreans will naturally go to Turkey, and the projected 200,000 annual Korean guests nonetheless have nice room to develop given Turkey’s outstanding assets.”
Tourism, mentioned Lee, is an important device of change for enhancing bilateral relations.
“The ability of tourism reaches a lot additional than official diplomacy because it permits the folks to immediately expertise the tradition, nature and livelihood of overseas international locations,” mentioned Lee.
‘CULTURAL COOPERATION HAS GREAT POTENTIAL’
Lee mentioned Turkey is a cultural powerhouse and “Korea has change into an ideal cultural energy in latest days.”
Referring to the outstanding development of Korean tradition, fashionable as “Hallyu” or “Korean Wave,” the ambassador advised that Turkey and Korea might work to re-create “Hallyu” because the “Ok-Turk Wave.”
He mentioned the South Korean Embassy’s “Korean Cultural Heart” and the CGV, a number one cultural firm of Korea in addition to the most important investor in Turkey, “can play a number one position.”
“Increasing Korean language schooling could be very significant within the context of selling cultural cooperation,” he mentioned, noting the Turkish authorities in 2017 adopted Korean as a second overseas language for elementary, center, and excessive faculties.
Three Turkish universities, together with Ankara College and Erciyes College, are operating Korean language departments.