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Friendship between Japan and Turkey

Posted on April 20th by Durna Özkaya

Do you know the disaster of the Turkish warship “Ertuğrul” that occurred 132 years ago, which became the foundation of friendship between Japan and Turkey? How did relationship begin between two countries that separated by thousands of kilometers? This history, which marks the 132nd anniversary of this year, dates back to the 1890 tragic incident of the Ottoman warship “Ertuğrul” off the coast of Kushimoto Town, Wakayama Prefecture. Following the tragedy of the accident, a friendly relationship between Japan and Turkey began through the memorial service of the victims.

The Ottoman Frigate “Ertuğrul”, which departed Istanbul for a goodwill voyage in July 1889, arrived in Yokohama in June of the following year. In the night of September 16, 1890, while returning from her goodwill visit to Japan, she encountered a severe typhoon crashed into a reef of Kii Oshima in Kushimoto Town, Wakayama Prefecture, which located at the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula and sank. In this tragic marine accident, 587 people, including the captain, died. Only 69 people were saved by the desperate rescue of the islanders of Kii Oshima. The islanders devotedly helped the injured crew and carefully buried the body of the deceased. The local people’s devoted rescue effort was immediately communicated to the Turkish people and is still handed down over time and laid a foundation stone for the friendship between the two countries. At the Ertugrul Memorial Monument which completed in 1937, a memorial ceremony is held every five years in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy in Japan and the Kushimoto Town Hall.

The historical relationship since the Ertuğrul accident, which has been passed down through the ages, has become the cornerstone of Japan-Turkey friendship. Let's keep protecting this precious “bond” that crosses the seas, and continue to make up for each other's shortcomings and help each other.