Türkiye aims to further ties with South Korea: Foreign minister

Türkiye aims to further ties with South Korea: Foreign minister

Ankara sees Seoul as important partner in Türkiye's 'Asia Anew' initiative, Hakan Fidan says after talks with South Korean counterpart

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) — Ankara wants to further enhance relations with South Korea as the two countries enjoy strategic partnerships, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Saturday.

"I would like to emphasize our will to further our relations on the basis of our strategic partnership," Fidan said at a news conference with his South Korean counterpart Park Jin in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The news conference came after the ministers held talks on bilateral relations and current regional and global developments, signing a road map agreement for a "dynamic Türkiye-Korea partnership."

"The roadmap we signed today is a sign of our common will in this direction. The road map, which has been worked on meticulously for about one-and-a-half years, draws its institutional framework of our relations," Fidan said, adding that under the document, the two countries will take steps in every area between them.

Political relations between Türkiye and the South Korea were established in 1949, and bilateral relations were upgraded to the level of strategic partnership in 2012.

Ankara sees Seoul as an important partner in its "Asia Anew" initiative, Fidan said, stressing that South Korea was Türkiye's second-largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

Based on its unique geographical position and deep-rooted historical and cultural ties with Asia, Türkiye announced "Asia Anew" in 2019, to introduce a new vision into its policies towards the continent from a comprehensive and holistic perspective.

Noting that Türkiye's bilateral trade volume with South Korea increased to $10 billion last year, Fidan said: "Our goal is to reach $15 billion on the basis of a balanced trade relationship."

He underlined that Türkiye and South Korea could enhance ties in defense industry, energy, transportation, and tourism.

Pointing to how deep the root Türkiye's relations with South Korea went, Fidan said: "It is not very common for a foreign minister in the world to commemorate the martyrs of the host country during his visit abroad and to express gratitude to them."

Türkiye was a major contributor to troops under UN command during the 1950-1953 Korean War, with Thursday marking the 70th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting.

Early on Saturday, Park visited the Korean Martyrs' Memorial in Ankara as part of his visit.


- 'Lasting peace, stability on Korean Peninsula'

During his address, Fidan underlined that Türkiye wants "lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and support efforts in this context."

For his part, Park said South Korea had not forgotten the "great sacrifice" Türkiye made as their soldiers fought shoulder-to-shoulder during the conflict.

"During this visit, I signed a road map with Fidan, which systematically regulates the development of relations between the two countries, and develops Korea-Türkiye relations," Park said, adding that with the roadmap, the two nations would further increase contacts between people, and especially youth, in fields such as education and sports.

On recent ballistic missiles launches by North Korea, Park urged the international community to "unite and respond decisively at a time when North Korea constantly threatens the peace of the Korean Peninsula and the world."

"It was discussed how to increase the awareness of the international community on the human rights situation in North Korea and how to cooperate between the two countries for the improvement of human rights in North Korea," he added.

The South Korean top diplomat said he and Fidan also discussed the situation in Ukraine.

Park prepared the beginning of his address at the news conference in Turkish, despite not knowing the language, reverting to his naive South Korean later in his speech.

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