President Erdoğan congratulates Japans new PM, underlines 130 years of friendship

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday and highlighted the 130-year-old historical ties between the two countries.

In a letter, Erdoğan said the foundation of the Turkey-Japan relationship was laid 130 years ago today on Sept. 16, 1890, with the Ertuğrul frigate incident.

When almost 600 Ottoman sailors lost their lives in far-off Japan in 1890, few at the time would have thought that the tragedy would usher in more than a century of friendship.

But the sinking of the Ertuğrul on its way back from a goodwill voyage to Japan did just that, establishing a bond between the Japanese and Turkish peoples that has endured even after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

“I wish to carry this deep-rooted friendship, on the basis of the strategic partnership notion we established in 2013, to further levels with your leadership and valuable contributions,” the president said.

Suga became Japan’s prime minister on Wednesday. The former chief cabinet secretary is expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory in a parliamentary vote, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds a commanding majority.

He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded his win, but made no immediate comment. He is not expected to speak until late Wednesday, when he gives his first press conference as prime minister.

Suga’s new cabinet was announced shortly after the vote, with several ministers keeping their jobs, including Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Finance Minister Taro Aso.