Minister of National Education of Türkiye graces the 76th National Day of Sri Lanka in Türkiye

Minister of National Education of Türkiye graces the 76th National Day of Sri Lanka in Türkiye

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara, Türkiye organized a diplomatic reception at the Anemon Ankara Hotel on 05 February 2024 to commemorate the 76th National Day of Sri Lanka. Over 380 guests were representing Turkish politicians, officials, business community, academia, culture and civil society organizations and, diplomatic corps attended the event.

Minister of National Education of Türkiye Dr. Yusuf Tekin graced the National Day reception as the Guest of Honour. Deputy Minister of Industry and Technology Prof. Ahmet Yozgatligil, Deputy Ombudsman of the Turkish Parliament Yahya Akan and, Chairman of the EU Harmonization Committee at the Turkish Parliament Burhan Kayatürk were also among the distinguished guests.

Keeping in line with the tradition, the traditional oil lamp was lit by the Ministers, Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well the Honarary Consuls of Sri Lanka in Türkiye.

Addressing the gathering, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake introduced Sri Lanka’s history, pre- and post-independence, achievements in health and education sectors in independent Sri Lanka, current bilateral tourism, trade and investment cooperation, Sri Lanka’s commitment and efforts in mitigating global climate change impact and progress made in stabilizing financial situation in the country. She also underscored the solidarity and cooperation between the two countries at times of tragedy and pain, such as 2004 Tsunami faced by Sri Lanka and the 2023 earthquake that devastated south-eastern Türkiye.

In his remarks, Minister of National Education of Türkiye noted that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, Türkiye-Sri Lanka relations have always been friendly based on mutual goodwill. He highlighted that one of the most striking examples of this friendship occurred a long time ago, in September 1890, when approximately 200,000 people visited the Ertuğrul Frigate, which anchored in Colombo Port on its way to Japan. He also stated that the Republic of Türkiye was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Ceylon, as it was known at that time, in 1948.

The Minister expressed his happiness on the appointment of a New Chairman for the Türkiye-Sri Lanka Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, after the inauguration of the new Parliament in June 2023. He further emphasized that increasing strong and closer collaboration with Sri Lanka is also in line with country's  “Asia Anew Initiative”, a process to engage more with Asian partners adding  a new dimension to Türkiye’s cooperation in all areas.During the event, the Minister invited the Ambassador for a discussion on collaboration in research on archaeological heritages.

The speeches were followed by exchange of gifts, and a raffle draw. Sri Lankan Airlines and Jazeera Airways provided air tickets and Aitken Spence provided 02 vouchers for 03-day tours in Sri Lanka. The Cinnamon Group and the Jetwing Group also offered one-night stays in their hotels. The Edjer Tourism and Lanka Ballooning offered vouchers to ride hot air balloons in Sigiriya and a stay at Foleya Mountain Resort and Trabzon, and several other gifts.

Guests were entertained with traditional dance items, including a Pooja dance by 03 Sri Lankan medical students from Tbilisi State Medical University in Georgia as well as a musical performance by 02 teachers of the British School in Tbilisi.

The guests were also treated to sumptuous buffet consisting of Sri Lankan and Turkish food and beverages, and take-away memorabilia. There was also an exhibition of photographs on Sri Lankan culture and wildlife.

The Embassy also held an official ceremony to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 76th Anniversary of Independence on 04 February at the Embassy premises with the Sri Lankan community. The event included the hosting of the national flag, singing of the national anthem, lighting of the traditional oil lamp, blessings of the four religions, reading the messages of President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka in Sinhala, Tamil and English, address by the Ambassador followed by serving Sri Lankan traditional food.

In her speech, Ambassador thanked the Sri Lankan community and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye for the support extended during the past year. Both events were generously supported by the Honorary Consuls of Sri Lanka in Türkiye and Aitken Spence Hotels.

Embassy of Sri Lanka


08 February 2024


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