By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – On Thursday, South Korean officials inaugurated a special botanical garden at Antalya Expo 2016.
Expo 2016, one of the most important exhibition events in the world, is being held in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya this April to October, with the theme of “Flowers and Children”.
On Thursday, South Korea was in the spotlight, where a South Korean delegation led by Suncheon Mayor Choong-Hoon Cho and South Korea’s Deputy Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Kim Yong-ha met with a Turkish delegation led by Ambassador Erdogan Kok, who is also chairing the Expo 2016 Antalya Agency.
During the meeting, Kok stressed the special relationship between Antalya and Suncheon, as in 2013 during the Suncheon Garden Expo South Korea, a Turkish delegation also set up a botanical garden.
“What the South Korean government and Suncheon Municipality have done here at Antalya Expo is remarkable,” Kok said. “South Korea and Turkey share a traditional horticulture which is supported by municipalities and the private sector.”
Also speaking during the meeting, Cho said a solidarity agreement was signed between the two municipalities and that relations “will continue to get stronger in the future.”
Representing South Korea with a traditional pink dress called “Han Bok” – a dress worn on special occasions – Cho thanked Turkey for sending troops during the Korean War, saying, “We love our Turkish war veterans.”
Turkey sent almost 15,000 troops to support the U.N. mission to Korea over the course of the 1950-53 war.
Of the 721 Turkish soldiers killed there, 462 were buried beneath the Turkish flag at the Heroes’ Cemetery in the Korean city of Busan.
After the meeting, Kok and Cho unveiled the Friendship Bell, a 700-kilogram bell representing Turkey and South Korea’s friendship.
During the inauguration of the botanical garden, the Korean National Gugak Team performed a traditional dance.
More than 53 countries are expected to participate in the EXPO, which will run for six months on a 112-hectare exhibition site, according to its official website.
Countries participating in Antalya Expo 2016 include the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Sudan, South Korea, Pakistan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kenya, Yemen, Nepal, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, China, Japan, Guinea, Senegal, Niger, Palestine, Bangladesh, Kosovo, Qatar, Madagascar, Netherlands, Burundi, Eritrea, the Union of Comoros, Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Benin, Britain, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Uganda, Ethiopia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ukraine, the Republic of South Africa, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Serbia, and Bulgaria.