Turkey has always been a friend to those nations and peoples facing oppression and cruelty. It was way back during the Korean War that Turkey rushed to the help of the Korean people to defeat the surging communist forces. Ever since then Turkey has been at the side of Seoul in the worst of times.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has just concluded an official visit to South Korea became the first foreign head of state to come to Seoul after the leaders of South and North Korea decided to make peace and bury the war axes. Thus Turkey showed it is there when needed and it is there when the time comes to rejoice. Turkey supports the disarmament of the Korean peninsula and the eradication of nuclear weapons in the area.
Erdoğan and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in decided to further enhance relations between the two "brotherly" countries and deepen their strategic partnership according to a joint communique issued by the presidential palace in Seoul.
Thus they will speed up cooperation in technology, trade, education and defense as well as in other areas.
Turkey and Korea have also agreed to enhance their cooperation in all international forums including the United Nations and MIKTA, which is a loose partnership created by Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Australia, at the foreign ministers level. Seoul and Ankara have agreed to carry this partnership to a higher level and turn the MIKTA into a forum attended by heads of state.
While at the state level these important developments were taking place the Korea-Turkey Friendship Association meeting in Seoul showed that Turkey has some very prominent friends in the Korean capital ranging from former ambassadors to business people to artists and academicians. These people are striving in the heart of Korea to boost friendship with Turkey and thus show that the real friendship is actually at the level of the people which is permanent and very valuable.Sang Ki-Peik, an 88-year-old veteran is a monument showing the depth of Turkish-Korean friendship. Ki-Peik served as young Korean soldier with the Turkish brigade during the Korean War and when the war was over the Turkish government invited him to Turkey and gave him a university scholarship. Ki-Peik graduated from the prominent Political Science Faculty in Ankara and later became a Korean diplomat who served more than a decade in Turkey. When he retired he came back to Korea and also worked with the Turkish embassy. It is people like Ki-Peik that the two countries drew closer and closer. Ki-Peik who is also a very close friend of Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar also met with President Erdoğan.
Meanwhile, it is clear that South Korea needs all the support it can get from its friends. During the recent crisis that erupted with North Korea, which started testing nuclear bombs and missiles, it became very clear to Seoul and even to Tokyo that the Americans who are supposed to be the mentors of South Korea and Japan are forcing a hard bargain under business minded President Donald Trump. Trump clearly antagonized the North Koreans, threatening them with a massive attack, which left the Koreans and the Japanese extremely vulnerable.
So the South Koreas, with the help of the Chinese managed to subdue the North Koreans and bring them back to a more manageable position that did not please Washington. Thus, Turkey is now showing solidarity with Seoul and once again displaying it is a friend to those in need.