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Turkey and Japan, which have been in interaction since the era of the Ottoman Empire, have a traditional friendship that has lasted for more than 130 years, symbolized by the disaster of the frigate Ertuğrul in 1890 and the rescue of the Japanese. trapped in Tehran in 1985. At the Tokyo Olympics, which ended on August 8, 13 Turkish athletes won medals and impressed audiences not only in Japan and Turkey, but also around the world. The Paralympic Games will start next week. Eight years ago, Japan and Turkey were rivals over the organization of these Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, as soon as the Tokyo election was announced, President ERDOĞAN was the first to congratulate this decision, and it had a great impact in Japan. In fact, Turkey is recognized as a friendly country to Japan, but Mr. ERDOĞAN’s kindness and Turkey’s close friendship with Japan have shown the Japanese people in a very effective way.
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Not only the sincere mutual feelings, but also the practical cooperation of the two countries within the international community is deepening. In the area of humanitarian aid, the humanitarian aid provided by Turkey, which hosts around 4 million refugees not only from Syria but also from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, is well respected. by Japan. In order to contribute as much as possible to Turkey’s efforts, Japan supports durable solutions to refugee problems, such as reducing the burden on local governments and host communities accepting asylum seekers and social integration. asylum seekers. Through JICA and United Nations organizations, US $ 550 million in support has been provided so far, which is the highest amount of aid outside of NATO member states.
In addition, these two democratic countries with common values are maritime countries located at both ends of the Eurasian continent and surrounded by important seas. It is believed that Japan, which attaches great importance to the rule of law, free and open seas, can also cooperate with Turkey in this regard. The free and safe journeys of Muslim traders in the Middle East region have historically supported the development of the region. Additionally, ASHIDA Hitoshi, who served as a diplomat in Istanbul in the 1920s and later became Prime Minister, drew attention to Turkey’s maritime diplomacy even during this time. Today, export products, including oil and natural gas, are transported by sea. The establishment of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, and not on “power”, will be the key to ensuring the stability and future development of the region. I wish to further strengthen the relations of friendship and cooperation between our countries, which were elevated to the rank of strategic partnership in 2013, and thus contribute to the stability of the international order.
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Economic relations between the two countries have developed rapidly since 2000, and the number of Japanese companies operating in Turkey has increased from 60 to around 200. Existing relations are expected to deepen further. The most important issue here is the conclusion of the Japan-Turkey Economic Cooperation Agreement and the Social Security Agreement. If the agreements are concluded, not only trade but also commercial activities will be revived through the investments, and the economic relations of the two countries will be mutually reinforcing.
The social interaction of the two countries also has great potential. In 2019, before the coronavirus, the number of Japanese tourists coming to Turkey increased by 120% from the previous year and reached 100,000 people. Turkey has excellent tourism resources, such as its natural beauty and numerous archaeological sites, and is well known in Japan. Turkish Airlines direct flights to Haneda Airport began in July 2020, and the reopening of tourism after the epidemic period is eagerly awaited.
I hope that my visit will strengthen cooperation to advance these issues and further develop Turkey-Japan relations.
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