Speech Of H.e. Ambassador Oğuzhan Ertuğrul Delivered At The 29 October Republic Day Reception

Kabil Büyükelçiliği 30.10.2018

Excellency Second Vice President Danish,

Distinguished Ministers, Deputy Ministers,

Fellow Ambassadors, Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we have gathered here to celebrate the ninetyfifth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. At the outset, I would like to welcome you all for being here tonight.

It has been almost a year since I assumed my duty here in Kabul, and I am honored and proud to serve in Afghanistan.

The relationship between the ancestors of the Turks who originate from Central Asia and the Afghans has a long history. To give you a glimpse of this privileged and special bond, I want to highlight some historical facts.

The first traces of Turks living in this geography dates back to second century B.C. Since then, throughout history, ancestors of the Turks lived around here namely Hephthalites (Akhuns/440s-670), Gokturks (439-744), Ghaznavids (977-1186), Seljuks (1037-1194), Khwarazmians (1138-1231) and Baburs (1505).

The bond is not limited to political sphere only. Famous poet, scholar, theologian and sufi mystic Mawlana Celaluddin Belkh-i Rumi was born in Balkh and passed away in Turkey in the 13th century (1207-1273). The famous poet, writer and politician Ali-Shir Nava’i from Chagatai Turks was born and died in Herat in the 15th century (1441-1501).

The relations between the two nations continued during the Ottoman era too. Many Ottoman officials were in close contact with Afghan leaders up until early 20th century. An Ottoman administrator, namely Ahmad Jamal Pacha, came to Afghanistan and worked on modernizing the Afghan armed forces.

During the Turkish War of Independence and the 1920s, this relationship has become more deepened and diversified thanks to the sacrifices of the Afghan nation and the personal friendship of the founders of the two countries, namely Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ghazi Amanullah Khan. Afghan youngsters who was studying at that time in the universities in Damascus, Beirut and Istanbul, joined the ranks of Ataturk, and fought in the Turkish War of Independence. Afghan women sold their jewelry and sent the money to Ataturk.

The Government in Ankara opened its second diplomatic mission abroad here in Kabul in 1920 after Baku.

Grateful for the sacrifices of our Afghan brothers and sisters, Ataturk did not decline a request he received from Amanullah Khan in 1921 even though he himself was in dire need of each and every soldier under his command. So, Ataturk sent the first Turkish military delegation in 1921 to train our Afghan brothers, two years before he founded Turkey.

That same year, Afghanistan has become the first country to recognize the Ankara Government, and to sign a political agreement, namely the Treaty of Alliance. It was also in 1921 when Afghanistan opened its Embassy in Ankara. Ataturk attended the opening ceremony and raised the Afghan flag to the pole himself.

Gazi Amanullah Khan was the only foreign dignitary to congratulate Ataturk for the signature of the Lausanne Peace Treaty in 1923. Afghanistan was the second country to recognize Turkey in 1923, after the Soviet Union.

Following the visit of the Afghan Foreign Minister (Mahmoud Tarzi) to Turkey in 1927, Amanullah Khan paid a state visit to Turkey in 1928 as the last leg of a long European tour. Indeed, this was the first state visit by a foreign Head of State to Turkey.

During this visit, Turkey signed its first technical assistant agreement with Afghanistan (Friendship and Cooperation Agreement, 25 May 1928).

Turkish military delegations kept coming to Afghanistan till the Second World War. One of those delegations led by Dr. Kamil Rıfkı Urga founded the Kabul Medical University in 1932.

The middle section of the Afghan-Iran border was drawn up by a Turkish committee in 1934-35, upon the referral by the two countries.

When Ataturk passed away in 1938, Afghanistan was the only country that kept its flag half-mast to initiate a week of mourning.

And more recently, since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, Turkey has been providing development aid, in particular in the areas of education, public health and agriculture. Afghanistan is the biggest recipient of Turkey’s development assistance.

We have also been providing training for Afghan military and police officers, as well as assuming the framework nation responsibility for Kabul since 2002.

The indelible pages of history are full of eternal memories of this relationship. The warm sentiment and brotherhood of today between Turkey and Afghanistan are a precious legacy that the two nations inherited from their forefathers. Those timeless historical records demonstrate that ancestors of the Turks and the Afghans have become successors and predecessors of each other in the fields which go beyond our political borders.

The strength of this historical bond between the two nations lies indeed in the common determination to pursue their respective liberty and freedom. I hope that I was able to give you a brief picture of how we feel about Afghans in Turkey.

The presence of my wife and son next to me is yet another reminder of how much we cherish and care our relations with Afghanistan.

Today, Afghanistan continue to face enormous challenges in a wide spectrum of areas, be it in the field of peace and security or in the fields of corruption, good governance, human rights, women empowerment and counter-narcotics.

Another challenge has been overcome on 20 October when the Afghan nation voted to elect their representatives for Wolesi Jirga, in spite of the security and technical difficulties. I warmly welcome and commend the commitment of the Afghan nation to democracy. I also congratulate the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in maintaining security throughout this process.

Our common objective is to see an Afghanistan that can stand on its own feet in a sustainable manner. I am hopeful that our Afghan brothers and sisters will be able to overcome all these challenges in unity. As Ataturk once famously said, the strength you need lies in the noble blood in your veins.

We commend the efforts of our Afghan brothers and sisters to address the challenges they face. But, these challenges are beyond the capacity of a single country alone, and require concerted and joint action by both Afghanistan and the international community at large. Afghanistan is moving forward to address these complex problems. However, there is still much to do, and the international community has shown its determination to support Afghanistan. Turkey is part of this effort and the Turkish nation will continue to stand by Afghanistan as long as our help is needed.

Thank you!


Atatürk

Sunday - Thursday

08:30 - 12:30 / 13:30 - 18:00

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