Far from their homelands, peoples of Turkey and South Korea affirmed their long-lasting friendship with a friendship dinner held in Toronto, Canada, on Wednesday, Oct. 30th.
“We would like to extend, on concrete grounds, the platonic love that has long been shared between the two brotherly nations to a more beneficial relationship in Canada, such as collaboration in education of our children, creation of business networks, and cooperation in cultural organizations,” said Mehmet Durmus, the executive coordinator of Turkish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (TCCC), in his welcome speech.
TCCC, a business-oriented organization that connects Canada’s business world with their Turkish counterparts, sponsored the friendship dinner that brought peoples from Turkish and Korean communities of Toronto together. High community representatives from Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA) and Korean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) and Anatolian Heritage Federation (AHF) attended the dinner that was first of its kind among the two communities in Toronto.
Turkey was the second country to answer the United Nations’ 1950 call to dispatch troops to stop communist aggression on South Korea. Turkey sent a brigade for around 15,000 troops in which 721 of them had died during the battles. In fact, even today veterans of the war in Turkey call their Korean counterparts and the Korean people in general, ‘Blood Brothers’.
In September 1999, Korean rescue crews were among the first international aid parties that arrived in Turkey to help the victims of the massive earthquake that hard-hit Turkey at time.
Jin Soo Lee, the president of KCCC, “The kinship between Turkish and Korean peoples probably lies way deeper in the history than we think. It is believed that the founders of the Korean civilization came from Lake Baikal where Turks had lived around,” stated in his speech.
Andrew Kim, the vice head of Korean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, saluted the crowd with both Turkish and Korean words that was applauded by the guest. He also mentioned his good wishes for a new and a blossoming era in the Turkish-Korean relations in Canada.
Concerning cooperation in business, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed between Turkey and South Korea in August 2012 that has since provided Turkish and Korean companies with a freer access to both markets for import and export activities.
Besides business, Turkey and Korea also work closely in cultural affairs in international stage The Korean city of Gyeongju organizes cultural expos every two to three years to promote Korean culture around the world. This year’s expo was co-organized by the Gyeongju and Istanbul municipalities under the theme of “Road, Encounter, and Companion” and proved to be a global cultural festival with the attendance of more than 40 countries from Asia, Europe and the Americas.