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 and 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. The motion picture reflects the two historical incidents of Ertuğrul and the Turkish Government's support of Japanese nationals in 1985.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a veritable Japanophilia took hold of the Ottoman press with hundreds upon hundreds of articles written dealing with Japan. As an "Eastern" people who originated in East Asia, many Turks felt a special affinity for another Eastern, Asian nation like Japan, which had modernized without becoming Westernized. Further adding to the mutual attraction between the Turks and the Japanese was their shared enmity towards Russia, the archenemy of the Ottomans for centuries and the new archenemy of Japan. Already starting to promote the ideology of Pan-Asianism, the Japanese start to court the Sublime Porte with the Meiji Emperor sending princes of the House of Yamato to visit the Sultan-Caliph Abdul Hamid II bearing gifts and proposals for treaties, which generated much excitement in the Ottoman press. Abdul Hamid II, who while admiring Japan to a certain extent, was obsessed with the fear sparked by popular rumors that the Meiji Emperor would convert to Islam and proclaim himself Caliph, thereby displaying him as the object of veneration from all the world's Sunni Muslims.
The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) greatly admired Japan, which they took as their model. The fact that an Asian nation like Japan had defeated Russia in 1905, the traditional enemy of the Ottoman Empire, was very inspiring to the Unionists, and Unionist newspapers all portrayed Japan’s victory as a triumph not only over Russia, but also over western values. The Unionists especially admired the Japanese for their embrace of western science and technology without losing their "Eastern spiritual essence", which was seen as proving that one could modernize without embracing western values, providing the inspiration to make the Ottoman Empire into the "Japan of the Near East". The Turks originated as a people living north of the Great Wall of China, with the first mention of the Turks in history occurring in a letter written to the Chinese emperor Wen in 585 AD. Over the centuries the Turks had wandered across Eurasia, settling in very large numbers in Anatolia after their victory over the Romans at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Unionists were proud of the East Asian origins of the Turkish people, and spent much time glorying Turan, which was the name they had adopted for the homeland of the Turks in East Asia that was located somewhere north of the Great Wall of China. As the Chinese and Arabs were the traditional enemies of the Turks, there no ties of friendship to celebrate with those peoples. Ziya Gökalp, the chief ideologue of the Young Turks charged in a 1913 essay that "the sword of the Turk and likewise his pen have exalted the Arabs, the Chinese and the Persians" rather than themselves and that the modern Turks "needed to turn back to their ancient past". Gökalp argued it was time for the Turks to once again study the important figures of their own Turco-Mongol tradition, such as Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Timur, and Hulagu Khan.
The modernization policies carried out by the Unionist regime starting in 1908 after the Young Turk revolution were closely modeled after the modernization of Meiji Japan. One Unionist, Colonel Pertev Bey wrote after the revolution of 1908: "We will rise shortly... with the same brilliance as the Rising Sun of the Far East did a few years ago! In any case, let us not forget that a nation always rises from its own strength!". In an inversion of western paranoia about the "Yellow Peril", the Young Turks often fantasised about creating an alliance with Japan that would unite all the peoples of "the East" to wage war against the much hated western nations that dominated the world, a "Yellow wave" that would wash away European civilisation for good. For the Young Turks, the term yellow (which was in fact a derogatory western term for East Asians, based upon their perceived skin colour) stood for the "Eastern gold", the innate moral superiority of eastern peoples over the corrupt west. In the eyes of the Unionists, it was the civilisations of the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Far East that were the superior civilisations to western civilisation, and it was merely an unfortunate accident of history that the west had happened to become more economically and technologically advanced than the Asian civilisations, something that they were determined to correct. The Young Turks were very impressed with how the Japanese had fought the Russian-Japanese war, observing that because of Bushido ("the way of the warrior"), the fierce warrior code of the samurai, that all Japanese males were indoctrinated in after the Meiji Restoration that the Japanese had no fear of death as for them it was the greatest honor to die for the Emperor while the Russians were afraid to die and did not know why they were fighting in Manchuria, thus giving the Japanese the edge in combat. The Unionists intended to emulate the Japanese example by creating a militaristic educational system designed to make every man a soldier and every woman into essentially a soldier-making machine; the concept of jihad would play the same role in motivating the Turkish soldier to fight and die for the caliph (regarded as Allah's representative on the Earth) as Bushido did for the Japanese soldier to die for his emperor (regarded by the Japanese as a living god). From the Meiji Restoration to 1945, Japanese students were taught that Bushido was the highest moral code, that for a man it was the greatest honor to die for the Emperor while for a woman it was the greatest honor to bear sons who would die for the Emperor. As with the case of the oligarchy that ruled Meiji Japan, the purpose of the modernization policies of the CUP regime to allow the nation to win wars, and the educational policies of the CUP regime, which were closely modeled after the Japanese educational system, were meant to train the male students to be soldiers when they become adults. The Turkish historian Handan Nezir Akmeșe wrote that the most important factor in Unionist thinking was the "devaluation of life", the belief that eastern peoples like the Japanese and the Turks attached no value to human life including their own, and unlike the westerners who allegedly clung pathetically to their lives when confronted with danger, easterners supposedly died willingly and happily for the cause.
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. During World War I, Japan was one of the Allies while the Turkish Ottoman Empire was one of the Central Powers.
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Republic of Turkey
Following the founding of the Republic of Turkey, diplomatic relations were established in 1924 and first embassies were opened in 1925. 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. 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. 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."
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.
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". 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."
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.
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. Imam Du participated in Chengda.
The anti-Japanese tour took place in 1938 in the Middle East by Da. From 1938 to 1948 Da served on China's National Military Council. In 1923 he completed his education at Al Azhar. China's Four Great Imams counted him as one of their members.
In order to gain backing for China in Muslim countries, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey was visited by Hui Muslim 馬賦良 Ma Fuliang and Uyghur Muslim Isa Yusuf Alptekin in 1939. 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. Newspapers in China reported the visit. Ma Fuliang and Isa were working for Zhu Jiahua.
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.
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. China was supported by Alptekin during the Japanese invasion.
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.
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. 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. Salars made up the majority of the first cavalry division which was sent by Ma Bufang. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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".
The Japanese government has not granted refugee status to any of the Kurds in Japan who have fled from Turkey due to alleged persecution and resulted in them living in destitution, with no education and having no legal residency status.
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.
A clash took place outside the Turkish embassy in Tokyo in October 2015 between Kurds and Turks, which began when the Turks and Kurds got into a quarrel after the Kurdish Worker Party (PKK) flag, which is considered to be a terrorist organisation by many countries, was shown at the embassy.
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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. 
- Foreign relations of Japan
- Foreign relations of Turkey
- Japanese people in Turkey
- Turks in Japan
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