PM says Canakkale Bridge will cement relations between S. Korea, Turkey

CANAKKALE, Turkey-- Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum celebrated the opening of a landmark bridge in Turkey on Friday, saying it symbolizes a "historic promise" between the two countries to further cement their relationship.

"It gives a special meaning to both countries, since it is a world-class bridge that blood brothers South Korea and Turkey built together," said Kim, who attended the opening ceremony of the 1915 Canakkale Bridge during his three-day trip to Turkey.

The 1915 Canakkale Bridge, which straddles the Dardanelles strait in northwestern Turkey, is the world's longest suspension bridge, with a 2,023-meter span between its towers, built by a consortium comprised of South Korea's SK ecoplant and DL E&C, and Turkey's Limak and Yapi Merkezi.

The consortium managed the project from construction to financing and will be in charge of operation.

"During the Korean War in 1950, many Turkish people came a long way across the Asian continent to help South Korea, even though the two had no diplomatic ties then," Kim said. "Now, South Koreans came to 'brother country' Turkey and joined in the construction of the 1915 Canakkale Bridge."

Kim added the new bridge in Canakkale, a region where battles of the Trojan War and World War I took place, will put its history of conflict behind and open an era of peace and prosperity.

Earlier, Kim said the 1915 Canakkale Bridge will serve as a good opportunity to display South Korea's technology and financing system.

"The 1915 Canakkale Bridge, which we can boast of to the world, will be inaugurated with our technology," Kim said during a meeting with South Korean businessmen held in Ankara upon his arrival Thursday (local time).

While in Turkey, Kim is also scheduled to meet with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and pay respect to Turkish soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

"(Turkish soldiers) participated in the Korean War and sacrificed," Kim said. "There is an exceptional good feeling between Koreans and Turkish people."

Kim's trip to Turkey marks the first in nine years by a South Korean prime minister.

After Turkey, Kim will head to Qatar on Saturday for a two-day visit that includes talks with his counterpart, Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani, about ways to expand cooperation in the energy field.

Kim will return home Monday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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