TCG Kınalıada: Strengthening Turkish-Sri Lankan Bonds

As the Republic of Turkey embraces its second century, we are ready to cooperate with Sri Lanka based on equal partnership and mutual interests.

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Turkish military vessel TCG KINALIADA (F-514)

Following article is based on the speech by the author as the Ambassador of Turkey to Sri Lanka, the port call of the Turkish military vessel TCG KINALIADA (F-514) in Colombo was marked with profound significance. Introducing the technical details of the ship, Lieutenant Commander Düzlana, XO of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, highlighted the visit’s historical context, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Turkey-Japan relations and the legacy of the Ertuğrul Frigate incident. The visit aims to strengthen bilateral ties through diplomatic receptions, high-level meetings, and joint exercises with Sri Lanka’s navy, showcasing Turkish naval capabilities and fostering mutual understanding. This event not only celebrates friendship but also sets the stage for future collaborations between Turkey and Sri Lanka across various domains. – Editors

It is a great honour to welcome you aboard TCG KINALIADA corvette today. Kınalıada is the first military vessel to conduct a port call to Sri Lanka since 2015, as part of its journey to Japan on the occasion of centenary anniversary of the establishment of Turkey-Japan diplomatic relations.

For our deep-rooted relations with Sri Lanka, 2023 was an important milestone as we celebrated the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

However, our cordial relations go further back in history, when the Ottoman Empire established an honorary consulate in Galle in 1864.

The first high-level visit to Sri Lanka was in 2005 when our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then Prime Minister of Turkey, visited Sri Lanka to show our solidarity after the devastating tsunami disaster shook the whole region.

The visit of the former Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in 2016 was the first Foreign Minister level visit from Turkey to Sri Lanka. Mr Çavuşoğlu paid another visit in 2022.

It is a pleasure to see that we have good cooperation in many areas and the bilateral relations have gained important momentum in recent years.

Our Embassy has been operational since 2013 and Turkish Airlines started its flights to Colombo in the same year.

Turkish Airlines has decided to separate its Istanbul-Male-Colombo route and started its direct flights between Istanbul and Colombo in October last year.

We believe these direct flights will contribute greatly to enhancing our people-to-people contacts and to the tourism sector of Sri Lanka.

Based on the founding principle “Peace at home, Peace in the world,” Turkish foreign policy focuses on peace and stability in its region and beyond, aiming to establish partnerships around the world for international peace and security.

Located at the crossroads of civilizations, Turkey is the western-most country of Asia, and the eastern-most country of Europe.

Based on its profound historical and cultural ties with Asia, Turkey seeks to strengthen its cooperation with Asian countries through the Asia Anew Initiative launched in 2019.

The initiative provides a new vision for our outlook to the Indian Ocean region as well.

In this respect, we see Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, as a valuable and friendly partner in the region.

As the second-largest army of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and one of the top ten military powers around the world, Turkey has accumulated tremendous expertise in its security and defence industry sectors in the last decades.

Out of the total exports of Turkey in 2023, which were $255.8 billion, $5.5 billion came from the defence and aerospace sector.

Built under the National Ship Project, Kınalıada is a good example of Turkey’s capabilities in military and defence industry sectors.

Due to its geopolitical location, surrounded by conflicts and wars, Turkey has developed these capabilities to defend itself while sharing this experience and capacity with its partners and friends around the world.

As the Republic of Turkey embraces its second century, we are ready to cooperate with Sri Lanka based on equal partnership and mutual interests.

There are many opportunities to build on our excellent bilateral relations and extend this cooperation towards security and defence sectors.

We hope that the visit of Kınalıada will be instrumental in further enhancing our friendly relations with Sri Lanka and promoting further cooperation in security and defence.

Semih Lütfü Turgut

Semih Lütfü Turgut is currently Türkiye's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, with a distinguished diplomatic career spanning over two decades. He has held key roles at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served in various postings worldwide, including as Consul-General in Alexandria, Edinburgh, and Mazar-e Sharif, demonstrating his commitment to advancing Türkiye's diplomatic relations globally.

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