Japan–Turkey relations

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Japanese–Turkish relations
Map indicating locations of Japan and Turkey



Japanese–Turkish relations are foreign relations between Japan and Turkey. Japan has an embassy in Ankara and a consulate-general in Istanbul. Turkey has an embassy in Tokyo.


Ottoman Empire[edit]

The Japanese cruiser Kongō in Istanbul, 1891, following the Ertuğrul incident, by Luigi Acquarone (1800–1896).

Relations between the two countries started in the 19th century. A foundational event occurred in 1890, when the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul sank off the coast of Wakayama, Japan, after having an audience with the Meiji Emperor. The surviving sailors were taken back to Istanbul by two Japanese frigates. A monument commemorating the Ottoman sailors has been erected in Kushimoto of Wakayama Prefecture, near the Kushimoto Turkish Memorial Museum. In 2015, marking the 125th anniversary of relations between Japan and the Ottoman Empire, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the movie "125 Years" was released.[1] The motion picture reflects the two historical incidents of Ertuğrul and the Turkish Government's support of Japanese nationals in 1985.

Efforts to establish treaty relations between Japan and the Ottoman Empire failed because of Japan's insistence that it receive capitulations like the other Great Powers and the Empire's demand that the two countries negotiate only as absolute equals.[2] During World War I, Japan was one of the Allies while the Turkish Ottoman Empire was one of the Central Powers.

Ottoman–Japanese Trade[3]
Years Ottoman Exports to Japan (yen)1 yen= 12 kurush Ottoman Imports
1902 1.189 41.860
1905 342.389 50.632
1907 130.394 70.598
1910 944.824 81.166
1912 138.665 162.675

Republic of Turkey[edit]

Following the founding of the Republic of Turkey, diplomatic relations were established in 1924 and first embassies were opened in 1925.[4] The first Japanese ambassador to Turkey was Sadatsuchi Uchida, who later in 1926 proposed and established the Japan-Turkey Society, a non-profit organization aiming mutual exchange between Turkey and Japan.

While Turkey had declared war on Japan in February 1945, it was also entirely symbolic.[5] So in 1985, the almost century old gesture of kindness was reciprocated during the Iran-Iraq war. As hostilities escalated to an extent that all aircraft were threatened with being shot-down, Turkey sent an aircraft in to rescue 215 Japanese nationals who were living in Tehran at the time.[6] The Turkish government issued a statement: "We have not forgotten the rescue of the sailors of the Ertuğrul. Thus, once we heard there were Japanese citizens in need of help, we went to their rescue."

Japan was also involved in a plot with Young Turk exiles to set up a puppet state in Central Asia and Xinjiang with a former Ottoman Prince as its monarch in the 1930s.

The Japanese invited an Ottoman prince, Abdulkerim, and several anti-Atatürk Young Turk exiles from Turkey to assist them in setting up a puppet state in Xinjiang with the Ottoman Prince as Sultan. All of the Turkish exiles were enemies of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Mustafa Ali, the Turkish advisor to the Uyghurs in the First East Turkestan Republic, was anti-Atatürk. Muhsin Çapanolu was also anti-Atatürk, and they both had Pan-Turanist views. Mahmud Nadim Bey, another of their colleagues, was also an advisor to the Uyghur separatists.[7][8]

The Turkish government under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk reacted angrily at this plot and the Turkish embassy in Japan denounced the Japanese plan to create a puppet state, labeling it a "Muslim Manchukuo".[7] Atatürk referred was not interested in Pan-Turanism due to the numerous problems the young Turkish Republic was dealing with and did not want the Ottoman royal family to try to create a new monarchist state to undermine the Republic of Turkey. TASS claimed the Uyghur Sabit Damulla invited "Turkish emigrants in India and Japan, with their anti-Kemalist organizations, to organize his military forces."[9]

The Chinese Hui Muslim Imam Da Pusheng 达浦生 toured the Middle East to confront Japanese propagandists in Arab countries and denounce their invasion to the Islamic world. He directly confronted Japanese agents in Arab countries and challenged them in public over their propaganda. He went to British India, Hejaz in Saudi Arabia and Cairo in Egypt. An anti-Japanese 8 month tour to spread awareness of the war in Muslim nations was undertaken by Muslim Shanghai Imam Da Pusheng.[10]

Misinformation on the war was spread in the Islamic Middle Eastern nations by Japanese agents. In response, in the World Islamic Congress in Hejaz, Imam Du openly confronted fake Muslim Japanese agents and exposed them as non-Muslims. Japan's history of imperialism was explained by Du to his fellow Muslims. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the future founder of Pakistan, met with Imam Du. The anti Japanese war effort in China received a pledge of support from Jinnah.[11] Imam Du participated in Chengda.[12]

The anti-Japanese tour took place in 1938 in the Middle East by Da.[13] From 1938 to 1948 Da served on China's National Military Council. In 1923 he completed his education at Al Azhar.[14] China's Four Great Imams counted him as one of their members.[15]

In order to gain backing for China in Muslim countries, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey was visited by Hui Muslim 馬賦良[16] Ma Fuliang and Uyghur Muslim Isa Yusuf Alptekin in 1939.[17] The Hindu leaders Tagore and Gandhi and Muslim Jinnah both discussed the war with the Chinese Muslim delegation under Ma Fuliang while in Turkey İsmet İnönü met with the Chinese Muslim delegation.[18] Newspapers in China reported the visit.[19] Ma Fuliang and Isa were working for Zhu Jiahua.[20]

The bombardment of Chinese Muslims by the warplanes of the Japanese was reported in the newspapers of Syria. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon were all toured by the delegation. The Foreign Minister, Prime Minister, and President of Turkey met with the Chinese Muslim delegation after they came via Egypt in May 1939. Gandhi and Jinnah met with the Hui Ma Fuliang and Uyghur Isa Alptekin as they denounced Japan.[21]

Ma Fuxliang, Isa Alptekin, Wang Zengshan, Xue Wenbo, and Lin Zhongming all went to Egypt to denounce Japan in front of the Arab and Islamic words.[22] China was supported by Alptekin during the Japanese invasion.[23]

Anti-Japanese sentiment was spread by the Hui Muslim delegation under Wang Zengshan in Turkey through the Turkish media as the Hui Muslims denounced the Japanese invaders. During a meeting of ambassadors in Turkey the Japanese ambassador was forced to be quiet after being told to shut up by the Soviet Russian ambassador when the Japanese tried to insinuate that the Hui representatives did not represent ordinary Muslims.[24]

Turkic Muslim Salars in the Chinese army fought against the Japanese in World War II. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Salar troops and officers served in the Qinghai army of the Muslim general Ma Biao, and they battled extensively in bloody battles against the Imperial Japanese Army in Henan province. In 1937, during the Battle of Beiping–Tianjin the Chinese government was notified by Muslim General Ma Bufang of the Ma clique that he was prepared to bring the fight to the Japanese in a telegram message.[25] Immediately after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Ma Bufang arranged for a cavalry division under Ma Biao to be sent east to battle the Japanese.[26] Salars made up the majority of the first cavalry division which was sent by Ma Bufang.[27] The Qinghai Chinese, Salar, Chinese Muslim, Dongxiang, and Qinghai Tibetan troops Ma Biao led fought to the death against the Japanese, or committed suicide refusing to be taken prisoner, instead, they committed suicide when cornered by the enemy. When they defeated the Japanese, the Muslim troops slaughtered all of them except for a few prisoners to send back to Qinghai proved that they were victorious. In September 1940, when the Japanese made an offensive against the Muslim Qinghai troops, the Muslims ambushed them and killed so many of them they were forced to retreat. The Japanese could not even pick up their dead, they instead cut an arm from their corpses limbs for cremation to send back to Japan. The Japanese did not dare make an offensive like that again.[28]

The Salar General Han Youwen directed the defense of the city of Xining during air raids by Japanese planes. Han survived an aerial bombardment by Japanese planes in Xining while he was being directed via telephone from Ma Bufang, who hid in an air raid shelter in a military barracks. The bombing resulted in human flesh splattering a Blue Sky with a White Sun flag and Han being buried in rubble. Han Youwen was dragged out of the rubble while bleeding and he managed to grab a machine gun while he was limping and fired back at the Japanese warplanes and cursed the Japanese as dogs in his native Salar language.[29][30][31][32] Leonard Clark, the author of "The Marching Wind", met Salar officers in Qinghai who had fought against the Japanese in World War II and were equipped with guns they seized from Japanese forces.

2010 marked the 120th anniversary of Turko-Japanese relations with over 186 events held throughout Turkey during the year. In this year, Turkey held the "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey." On July 10, 2010, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, cousin of the emperor, attended the opening ceremony of the Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum. The museum was built with funding from Japan. The prince has often engaged himself actively to promote Japanese-Turkish relations. Moreover, in the wake of Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and the earthquakes in Turkey's eastern part in October and November 2011 respectively, both countries provided each other with support, which strengthened the relationship between the two nationals.[33]

Political relations[edit]

Embassy of Turkey in Japan

Turkey and Japan are both members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Also Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Japan is an observer.

There are 4,444 (2010)[34] Turkish citizens living in Japan, constituting an important aspect of Turkey's relations with Japan.[35]

The Japan-Turkey Society was established in 1926 and has since been promoting amicable relations between Japan and Turkey through seminars, the arts, language and cultural exchange and even culinary exchange activities. [36]

The Turkey-Japan Cultural Dialog Society was founded in 2006, but records cultural and other types of exchange activities between Japan and Turkey since 1873. [37]

According to the public survey in Turkey conducted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 2012, 83.2% of respondents answered that the relations between Japan and Turkey are "friendly" or "almost friendly".[33]


Main article: Kurds in Japan

The Japanese government has not granted refugee status to any of the Kurds in Japan who have fled from Turkey due to persecution[citation needed] and resulted in them living in destitution, with no education and having no legal residency status.[38][39]

The Japanese government has not granted protection or refugee status to asylum seeking Kurds from Turkey while it has granted them to Myanmar asylum seekers, the lack of protection has led to bullying by Japanese children against Kurdish children in schools because they look physically different.[40]

A clash took place outside the Turkish embassy in Tokyo in October 2015 between Kurds and Turks which began when the Turks assaulted the Kurds after the Kurdish Worker Party flag (PKK) was shown at the embassy.[41][42][43][44][45]

Economic relations[edit]


There have been various exchanges of visits by eminent persons, such as the visits of Crown Prince Naruhito in March 2009 and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in January 2010. On the occasion of visit to Turkey by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in May 2013, "Joint Declaration of the Establishment of Strategic Partnership Between Japan and the Republic of Turkey" was signed and on the occasion of second visit in October 2013, "Joint Declaration by the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on cooperation in the field of Nuclear Energy and Science and Technology" was signed between Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.kainan1890.jp/en/index.html
  2. ^ Renée Worringer, Ottomans Imagining Japan: East, Middle East, and Non-Western Modernity at the Turn of the Twenteith Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
  3. ^ F. Şayan Ulusan Şahin - Türk-Japon İlişkileri (1876-1908) s.122
  4. ^ Turkey´s Political Relations with Japan / Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6. ^ Japan-Turkey Relations
  7. ^ a b ESENBEL, SELÇUK. "Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900–1945". The American Historical Review. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 247. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Zhufeng Luo (January 1991). Religion Under Socialism in China. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-0-87332-609-4. 
  11. ^ http://www.88dict.com/archives/485094/ http://archive. is/jDCDc
  12. ^ http://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=EXTRO_033_0143
  13. ^ Archives de sciences sociales des religions. Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France). 2001. p. 29. 
  14. ^ Wolfgang Bartke (1 January 1997). Who was Who in the People's Republic of China: With more than 3100 Portraits. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-3-11-096823-1. 
  15. ^ Stephane A. Dudoignon; Komatsu Hisao; Kosugi Yasushi (27 September 2006). Intellectuals in the Modern Islamic World: Transmission, Transformation and Communication. Routledge. pp. 321–. ISBN 978-1-134-20597-4. 
  16. ^ Hsiao-ting Lin (13 September 2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Routledge. pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-136-92393-7.  http://wenku.baidu.com/view/b09c1314a8114431b90dd89a.html?re=view
  17. ^ Hsiao-ting Lin (4 August 2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Taylor & Francis. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-0-203-84497-7. Hsiao-ting Lin (13 September 2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Routledge. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-1-136-92392-0. Hsiao-ting Lin (13 September 2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Routledge. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-1-136-92393-7. 
  18. ^ http://www.huizu360.com/huizu/news_view.asp?tid=5&id=19276
  19. ^ http://contentdm.lib.nccu.edu.tw/cdm/ref/collection/38clip/id/34722
  20. ^ http://www.qh.xinhuanet.com/2009-11/27/content_18352582.htm
  21. ^ http://www.xzbu.com/7/view-1606508.htm
  22. ^ http://www.xzbu.com/4/view-3247116.htm
  23. ^ The Muslim World. Motamar al-Alam al-Islami; World Muslim Congress. 1994. p. 99. 
  24. ^ http://www.academia.edu/4427135/The_Chinese_Islamic_Goodwill_Mission_to_the_Middle_East_-_Japonya_ya_Kar%C5%9F%C4%B1_Sava%C5%9Fta_%C3%87inli_M%C3%BCsl%C3%BCmanlar%C4%B1n_Orta_Do%C4%9Fu_%C4%B1yi_Niyet_Heyeti_-_Wan_LEI pp. 156, 157, 158.
  25. ^ Central Press (30 Jul 1937). "He Offers Aid to Fight Japan". Herald-Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  26. ^ 让日军闻风丧胆地回族抗日名将
  27. ^ 还原真实的西北群马之马步芳骑八师中原抗日
  28. ^ "马家军悲壮的抗战:百名骑兵集体投河殉国(1)". 军事-中华网. 19 September 2008. 
  29. ^ http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_76362eba0102vr6f.html
  30. ^ http://www.xjmg.org/show.aspx?id=1081&cid=10
  31. ^ http://product.dangdang.com/23762452.html
  32. ^ http://www.kunlunpai.cn/thread-1211-1-1.html
  33. ^ a b c http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/middle_e/turkey/data.html
  34. ^ "トルコ共和国基礎データ", 各国・地域情勢, Tokyo, Japan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2010, retrieved 2010-09-08 
  35. ^ "Japonya Türk Toplumu (Turkish Community of Japan)" (in Turkish). Embassy of Turkey in Japan. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  36. ^ http://www.tkjts.jp/about/index.html
  37. ^ http://www.nittokai.org/history/
  38. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/09/03/national/japans-kurds-often-limbo-despite-significant-community/#.Vi2nMStGQrd
  39. ^ https://www.facebook.com/thejapantimes/posts/10153047164913344
  40. ^ https://www.umb.edu/editor_uploads/images/mgs/mgs_conflictres/35_Kurdish_Refugee_Children_in_Japan.pdf
  41. ^ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/turks-kurds-clash-japan-turkey-elections-151025194639100.html
  42. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/25/national/seven-injured-clashes-outside-turkish-embassy/
  43. ^ http://sputniknews.com/asia/20151025/1029071175/kurds-turks-fight-in-japan.html
  44. ^ https://www.rt.com/news/319619-turkey-embassy-kurds-clashes/
  45. ^ http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/10/25/434883/Turkey-Japan-Tokyo-Clashes-Snap-elections-

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "About Japan-Turkey Society", Japan-Turkey Society (Japanese)