By Sorwar Alam and Sadik Kedir Abdu
The Sri Lankan Embassy in capital Ankara celebrated the country’s 70th anniversary of its Independence Day on Tuesday.
Turkish Deputy Education Minister Orhan Erdem and ambassadors of several countries attended the event.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador P.M. Amza said Sri Lanka was now in a new era where the country was giving priority to good governance, reconciliation, democracy and development.
About the “deep-rooted” relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey, Amza said Ottoman imperial authorities maintained diplomatic relations with the country and also appointed an honorary consulate in 1864.
“Turkey and Sri Lanka, historically and at present, enjoy best of cordial relations. Even though both countries are geographically [far] in distance, it did not prevent the cooperation in many areas,” he said, adding that Turkey stood by Sri Lanka during its difficult times.
“Both countries have worked together in solidarity... in international forums. Sri Lanka and Turkey are looking forward and are determined to elevate the existing relations to the higher level in various sectors, especially in trade, investment and the tourism fields,” he added.
The embassy organized its 70th Independence Day celebration in five major cities of Turkey: Ankara, Istanbul, Trabzon, Bursa, and Erzurum, he said.
Turkish Deputy Education Minister Erdem also celebrated the independence of Sri Lanka and spoke about bilateral relations.
Erdem thanked the Sri Lankan government for its support to Turkey following the defeated coup of July 2016.
He said diplomatic relations between Turkey and Sri Lanka had been continuing for 69 years without any trouble.
He underlined trade relations between the two countries, noting that the business council between Turkey and Sri Lanka was established in 2014.
“And this year we are hoping to organize an annual business council meeting,” he added.
He noted that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Sri Lanka, which is currently about $150 million, would be increased to $500 million by 2020.
In 1948, after nearly 150 years of British rule, Sri Lanka became an independent country.