President Moon Jae-in hosted a state dinner for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the Republic of Turkey this evening. The Turkish President is currently making a state visit to Korea.
In his welcoming dinner remarks, President Moon said even though Turkey and Korea are geographically far apart, we are extraordinarily close brother nations historically and emotionally, proposing we advance robust bilateral relations into a forward-looking relationship.
President Moon recalled the fact that some 20,000 young Turkish people came to Korea and risked their lives to safeguard freedom and democracy during the Korean War. He went on to highlight that there is great potential for bilateral cooperation with Turkey, one of the most dynamically growing countries in the world, pointing to such statistics as its population of 80 million, the world’s 17th largest economy and the 2017 growth rate of 7.4 percent.
Moreover, President Moon cited a Turkish proverb “Friends are born, not made,” wishing that the friendship between Korea and Turkey that were born as friends would last forever.
President Erdoğan expressed his appreciation to President Moon for making best preparations to warmly welcome him amid a busy schedule. The Turkish President expressed the wish that a great success would be reaped in the process of improving inter-Korean relations and settling permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, which is led by President Moon.
Besides the First Couples of both nations, about 90 political, business, academic and cultural figures attended the state dinner. On the menu were pumpkin porridge, halal beef and mutton, and bibimbap with spring greens and mugwort soup with meatballs. As Turkey is an Islamic country, Korean foods were prepared with halal ingredients.
At the banquet performance under the theme of the vitality of spring, a Korean folk song, “Arirang,” was played on the gayageum, a traditional Korean zither-like stringed instrument, as well as “Uskudar,” a Turkish folk song that is known to the Korean people.