By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – South Korean officials have inaugurated a special botanical garden at an international event on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast aimed at showcasing a greener life.
The event — Antalya Expo 2016 — is being held April to October with the theme “Flowers and Children” and the motto “A Green Life for Future Generations”.
On Thursday, South Korea was in the spotlight, where a South Korean delegation led by Suncheon Mayor Cho Choong-hoon 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.
The meeting saw Kok stress the special relationship between Antalya and the South Korean city of Suncheon.
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.”
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.”
Wearing a traditional pink dress called Hanbok — worn in South Korea on special occasions — Cho thanked Turkey for sending troops during the Korean War, adding: “We love our Turkish war veterans.”
Turkey sent almost 15,000 troops to support the United Nations 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 (1,543 lbs) bell representing the bond between Turkey and South Korea.
Both South Korean and Turkish anthems were sung, and a 15-minute promotional video was shown to the audience titled “Welcome to Korea”, which featured Korean food, historic places, daily life, agricultural and tourist activities.
Cho later thanked officials and said Antalya is as beautiful as people had told him.
“Although Turkey is geographically far away from South Korea, we are cordially binded and we are blood brothers,” he underlined.
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 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.