South Koreans, allies pay tribute to Turkish war effort

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by Jigs, Jun 28, 2010.

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  1. Jigs
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    Jigs ELITE MEMBER

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    Sunday, June 27, 2010
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    SEOUL/BUSAN, South Korea - Hürriyet Daily News

    Sixty years after the breakout of the Korean War, South Koreans and allied troops continue to voice gratitude and praise for the efforts and sacrifice made by Turkey.

    "The Turkish forces were the strongest and bravest among all," Bae Young-Gil, deputy mayor of the southern coastal city of Busan told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review late last week. "And since the war, Korea and Turkey have been brothers."

    Several veterans speaking to the Daily News on Friday during a special commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war at the demilitarized zone echoed Bae’s commendations of the Turks.

    "Everyone thought the Turks were the best soldiers... They never stopped fighting, they never gave in," said Harm de Jong, a Dutch veteran who was a navy officer during the war.

    "The Turks were excellent soldiers," said Joseph Deplano, a U.S. veteran of the conflagration.

    "They were very good," agreed Frank Suszgyzinski, another veteran from the U.S. Army.


    "The Chinese feared the Turkish soldiers. The Turks were known for their willingness and bravery in face-to-face bayonet fighting, a very violent way of fighting," said Robert Auletti, another veteran of the U.S. Army.


    The first such praise for the Turkish contingent, which lost 1,000 soldiers during the war, came 60 years ago from U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then commander of the U.N. forces fighting in Korea.

    "The Turks are the heroes of heroes. There is no impossibility for the Turkish Brigade," he said.

    Memorial commemorations

    During the Korean War, Canada, Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia, Thailand, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Belgium and Luxembourg also sent combat troops to join the U.N. forces. Five other countries provided medical support.

    Out of the fallen Turkish soldiers in the Korean War, 462 have been interred at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan. Many soldiers from 10 other countries also are buried at the cemetery, which also hosts a Turkish memorial.

    At a Friday ceremony in Seoul marking the war's 60th anniversary, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak thanked the U.N. allies. "South Korean and U.N. soldiers, you were not only courageous and genuine soldiers but also a cornerstone of South Korea’s history," Lee said. "We will remember your sacrifice and dedication forever."

    Absent from the commemoration ceremonies in Korea on Friday were Turkish war veterans. One Turkish official said 150 Turkish war veterans this year were invited to South Korea by the Seoul government as part of the commemoration activities, but half of them had already visited the country before June 25 while the rest will visit later in the year.

    Lee presented war veterans and representatives from U.N. nations that supported South Korea in the war, including Turkish ambassador to Seoul Erdoğan Işcan, with plaques of gratitude.

    Instead of provoking another military confrontation with the North, Lee said his government wanted to attain peace.

    For this to occur, however, North Korea must stop military provocations, such as the torpedo sinking of the Cheonan warship that killed 46 South Korean sailors in March, Lee said.

    The South Korean president also called for Pyongyang to openly confess to sinking the vessel and apologize. North Korea refuses to do so, saying the South's accusations about the ship sinking are baseless.

    First conflict after World War II

    The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, when tensions in the Korean peninsula turned into an open conflict as North Korean troops invaded the South. The United States joined the war two days later, and the United Nations called on member nations to run to the help of South Korea.

    Although the foreign forces repulsed the North's invasion, the war’s course changed after China officially joined the war on North Korea's behalf toward the end of 1950. Turkey decided to contribute troops to the U.N. forces in Korea on Oct. 17, 1950.

    For the following three years, the Turkish contingent fought bloody battles against superior Chinese forces in Kunuri, Sunon, Yeoncheon and Gorangpo. The Turkish forces sustained huge casualties, but accomplished their military tasks.

    An armistice was eventually signed on July 27, 1953, designating the 38th parallel as the border between the two Koreas. But there has been no peace treaty and the peninsula remains divided. While Seoul has become a major economic power over the last 60 years, the communist regime in Pyongyang has remained one of the world's most isolated governments.

    Turkey paid a large price for its war effort in Korea. Out of a total force of nearly 15,000 troops, 1,005 of its soldiers died in the war, corresponding to a casualty rate of nearly 7 percent in terms of killed in action. More than 2,100 troops also were injured.

    By comparison, the U.S. forces only lost 36,000 of 1.8 million troops, while 1,177 British soldiers were killed out of a total of 56,000. After Turkey, Greece suffered the highest casualty rate with 186 soldiers killed out of nearly 5,000.

    Shortly before the Korean War, Turkey had been threatened by the Soviet Union, and was seeking ways to solidify its relationship with the Western camp. Historians agree that Turkey’s and Greece's participation in the Korean War was a key factor in their admission to NATO in 1952.


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  2. Jazzbot
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    Jazzbot SENIOR MEMBER

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    i salute to Turkish Soldiers for their bravery..
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