Turkish President Gul in Japan

Turkish president for the first time to commemorate Turkish sailors who lost their lives when the Ertugrul Frigate of the Ottoman Empire sunk off Japan's Pacific coasts 118 years ago.

Turkish President Gul in Japan

A memorial has taken place in the Japanese town of Kushimoto with the participation of a Turkish president for the first time to commemorate Turkish sailors who lost their lives when the Ertugrul Frigate of the Ottoman Empire sunk off Japan's Pacific coasts 118 years ago.

President Abdullah Gul proceeded from Tokyo to Kushimoto where the Ertugrul Martyrs' Monument was erected by Japanese authorities out of respect to Turkish sailors.

Residents in the town welcomed the Turkish president and his wife by waving Turkish and Japanese flags in their hands.

Speaking at the memorial, President Gul said, "standing here, I feel the pain of Turkish sailors who faced an unexpected end thousands of miles away from their beloved ones. However, their demise consolidated friendly relations between Turkish and Japanese peoples."

"I commemorate our martyrs, who were the pioneers of friendly relations between Turkey and Japan, with respect and gratitude," he said.

The Ertugrul Frigate which was sent to Japan by Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid II as a sign of good will in 1890, reached Japan after an arduous journey, that lasted 11 months. However, on its way back to Ottoman Empire, the frigate hit the reef near Island Oshima, southern Japan, and sunk with its 630 mariners in a typhoon. People of Oshima village saved the lives of 69 mariners and buried the martyries.

Japanese lawmaker Nikai Toshihiro, governor of Wakayama Nisaka Yoshinobu and mayor of Kushimoto Shigehi Notsubora also delivered speeches during the memorial.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Haziran 2008, 09:26
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