Article by Ambassador Gungen for Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun)
Full text of the Article by Ambassador Gungen for Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun) published on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey
“Today, the Republic of Turkey turns 98. On October 29, 1923 the Turkish Parliament proclaimed Turkey to be a republic and elected Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as its first president. On this historic day, we pay tribute to him and all our heroes for leading the nation to independence.
Friendly relations between Turkey and Japan had long existed. The visit of HIH Prince Komatsu to Istanbul in 1887 followed by the dispatch of Ertugrul Frigate to Japan two years later were important milestones.
Ataturk also attached importance to Turkey-Japan relations. On receiving credentials of Japan’s first Ambassador to Turkey in 1925, he emphasized that the ties of sympathy and appreciation between the two peoples never ceased to exist even in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. During a visit to Turkey 90 years ago, HIH Prince Takamatsu gifted a katana to Ataturk that is still preserved in a museum at the Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara. Founded in Tokyo 95 years ago, Japan-Turkey Society also provides an important historical linkage even today, supported all these years by members of the Imperial Family including the family of HIH Prince Mikasa.
Turkey will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2023. A year later, we will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations with Japan. As strategic partners, Turkey and Japan share common goals and values including rules-based order, multilateralism and free trade. Just as Turkey’s stabilizing presence in the Middle East, Black Sea, Caucasus and Eastern Mediterranean is indispensable to regional peace and prosperity, so is Japan’s important role in advancing stability and development in the Indo-Pacific.
We are bound by strong “kizuna” and working together to realize our limitless potential for partnerships. The strategic partnership, established by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013, covers economy, finance, science and technology, health, education, culture, security, disaster prevention and space. Japan’s high-quality infrastructure projects in Turkey help enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe. The wide-ranging partnership was confirmed during a visit to Turkey by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in August this year.
As the world experienced second year of global pandemic, Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games reinforced our hope for overcoming it together. Tokyo 2020 also became the best Olympics and Paralympics ever for Turkey bringing home 28 medals. I especially thank the people of Japan for hosting this event under the difficult conditions.”
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