2010 Turkish – Japanese Friendship Year


Turkish Japanese Friendship

Arts and culture rise from 120-year-old maritime disaster

A 120-year-old maritime disaster that bound Turkey and Japan in friendship is to be celebrated in Melbourne in the middle of 2010.

A cultural and arts project is planned to showcase the countries’ culture and history, and aims to build ties between Australian Turkish and Japanese citizens, reduce the social isolation of new migrants to Australia and broaden local understanding of both countries.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and the Japan Foundation will be sending musicians to Australia to perform at the joint events.

The countries’ friendship began with the visit of the Ottoman Empire’s Ertugrul Frigate to Japan in 1890. The voyage aimed at building inter-country links but ended in tragedy when the ship became disabled in a storm and eventually hit reefs off Oshima Island, Japan. An estimated 533 officers and sailors were killed and Japanese vessels helped to rescue about 69 survivors who were later taken home to Istanbul in two Japanese corvettes.

Since then the two countries have celebrated the event with cultural and historical activities. Organisers of the Melbourne project are Hilkat Ozgun, founder of the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform (ATCP) and the Australian representative on the Advisory Board of Turks Living Abroad, and Mari Heazlewood, secretary of the Association of New Elderly (ANE), Victoria.

A ‘Turkish – Japanese Friendship Year Committee’ has been established in Australia. Mrs Ozgun and Mrs Heazlewood’s project will show how their countries’ communities have integrated with many other communities and cultures in Victoria.

Their three-stage not-for-profit project aims at reducing social isolation of new migrants, developing existing relationships using art and culture. The first stage will facilitate a meeting of Turkish and Japanese volunteers and provide activities so that they can learn about each other personally and culturally. The second stage will incorporate educative and informative exchanges of both Turkish and Japanese cultural values, opportunities and responsibilities. The third stage will be cultural activities including dance, music, workshops, food and wellbeing activities.

A reception will precede the joint Turkish and Japanese cultural concert that will begin at 5 pm on Monday, June 14, 2010, at the BMW Edge, Federation Square. Citizens of Melbourne are invited to attend to see Turkish and Japanese artists perform their best and latest works, which are respected and popular both in Turkey and Japan.

The Victorian Multicultural Commission and Federation Square have funded the ‘Turkish – Japanese Friendship’ cultural event in recognition of the unique bond of friendship between the Turkish and Japanese communities.

Official sanction for the event was given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan which has released the official logo of the “2010 Japan Year in Turkey” to the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform and the Association of New Elderly, Victoria.

On behalf of the Turkish and Japanese communities in Australia, Mrs Ozgun and Ms Heazlewood thanked the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Federation Square, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and the Japan Foundation and all individuals who have volunteered.

For more details contact:
Mrs Hilkat Ozgun on phone 0401 385 606


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