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Yoon offers condolences to Turkish envoy during visit

Feb. 9, 2023 - 18:36 By Choi Si-young
President Yoon Suk Yeol signs a condolence book at the Turkish Embassy in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol offered condolences Thursday to Salih Murat Tamer, Turkish ambassador to South Korea, over the deadly earthquake that has killed close to 16,000 people in northern Turkey and southern Syria as of Thursday afternoon.

According to Yoon’s office, the president reaffirmed his readiness to help the Turkish people in “every way possible” during a visit to the Turkish Embassy in Seoul. There, Yoon promised to field a second rescue team following a 118-member team that landed in the southern city of Gaziantep on Wednesday.

Since the arrival, the Korean rescue workers have pulled five survivors from the rubble in Antakya, the capital of Hatay Province -- Turkey’s southernmost region where about 100 Koreans are believed to be residing. No Korean casualties have been reported.

Ambassador Tamer expressed gratitude for “brotherly love,” referring to the fact Seoul-Ankara ties data back to the 1950-53 Korean War, where Turkey sent ground troops to help counter North Korea’s invasion.

Meanwhile, Yoon’s office said it had chipped in donations to the Korean Red Cross for relief efforts, without elaborating. Officials with knowledge of the issue said the government was gathering input on how to extend assistance to Syria, since the two countries have yet to establish diplomatic relations. Discussions are still taking place, according to them.