COLOMBO : Every year on the 29th of October, Turkish Nation at home and around the world celebrate a significant date in the Turkish calendar, a date that gives us immense pride and honour. It is the day that recognized the Turkish parliament, formally proclaiming the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye. It is the same day on which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish National War of Liberation was unanimously elected as the first President of the Republic.
As the grandchildren of a proud nation who rose from the ashes of a fading empire, it is with great respect and gratitude that we remember today Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, his comrades in arms and all Turkish heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for the resurrection and the defence of our nation.
Following the founding of the Republic of Türkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk embarked on a wide-ranging set of reforms in the political, economic, and cultural aspects of Turkish society. In fact, these reforms have left a lasting legacy in converting the newly founded Republic into today’s modern, democratic and secular Turkish state.
Deeply rooted in vibrant history and rich culture, the Turkish Republic throughout its’ 99 years has thrived as a trading and cultural centre located between east and west, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Even though recent times have been tough due to the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the socio-economic downturn both locally and globally coupled with geo-political tensions, Türkiye has continued to withstand strongly as a pillar of strength in the region. To this end, Türkiye will continue to bolster peace and security within the region.
Türkiye values her relations not only within the region but also outside where a special emphasis has been drawn to the Asian region with the “Asia Anew Initiative”. In this regard, Türkiye aims at capitalizing on potential opportunities for cooperation with Asian countries, commensurate with evolving circumstances and needs. The initiative focuses on further advancing Türkiye’s relations with these countries through regional, sub-regional, and country-specific approaches, based on common interests and objectives.
In the same context, Türkiye and Sri Lanka have shared extensive bilateral relations over many decades with diplomatic contacts going back to 1864. This relationship is based on the shared cultures and values of the two countries. The recent visit of our Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Sri Lanka in January 2022 escalated the bilateral relations between the two countries to greater heights. During the visit, Minister Çavuşoğlu underlined that Türkiye aimed to deepen the existing relations and explore new avenues of cooperation in various fields which will serve the mutual interests of both our nations.
The global impact of the Covid-19 aftermath and tensions between great power rivalries have particularly affected developing countries such as Sri Lanka where the economy became fragile due to dependence to external income sources. Needless to say that Sri Lanka has undergone many unprecedented developments in the recent past, starting from the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 to the current social & economic hardships.
Türkiye is deeply saddened seeing the current hardships faced by the friendly people of Sri Lanka. A crisis of this magnitude requires a joint and coordinated approach both locally and globally. Hence, Sri Lanka requires her friends more than ever before. Türkiye continues to support Sri Lanka during these trying times. In line with the agreements signed between both our Governments, urgently needed medical donations including cold chain medicines, medical consumables and ventilator devices arrived to Sri Lanka in September 2022.
As a true friend and a partner sharing similar values to this beautiful island nation, Türkiye will continue to do its part and remains resolute to collaborate with her Sri Lankan counterparts in all potential areas of cooperation. On the National Day of Türkiye, let me conclude my words by wishing Sri Lanka a quick economic recovery and a prosperous future. I am confident that Türkiye and Sri Lanka will further deepen our multi-dimensional relationship in the coming years by drawing upon the mutual strength and support.
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