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Turkey inaugurates park honoring Korean War-era orphanage

July 7, 2013 - 20:37 By Korea Herald
Turkish Ambassador to Korea Naci Saribas (center) walks with Suwon Mayor Yeom Tae-young (right) in the Ankara School Park, inaugurated in a special ceremony in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, June 25. (Yonhap News)
The Turkish Embassy in Korea and Suwon City in Gyeonggi Province inaugurated a new park in memory of a school and orphanage established some 60 years ago during the Korean War by Turkish soldiers.

Called “Ankara School” by the soldiers, the orphanage grew rapidly and accommodated some 100 children at a time, ranging in age from 5 to 15. It was said to have taught them music, Turkish and English. A total of 800 Korean children passed through the school.

The orphanage cared for children through the duration of the war. Although it was disbanded not long after the last of the men returned to their native Turkey in the summer of 1954, the charity and safety that the Ankara School provided became a lasting hallmark of Korean-Turkish diplomatic relations.

The park, located near Seoho Elementary School in Suwon’s Seodun-dong neighborhood, was inaugurated in a ceremony on June 25 with Turkish Ambassador to Korea Naci Saribas and Suwon Mayor Yeom Tae-young in attendance.

The street near where the Ankara School stood was named “Ankara-gil” last year.

Turkey sent four brigades totaling 5,500 soldiers to fight with United Nations troops. By the war’s end, 741 Turkish men lost their lives, 2,147 were wounded, 234 were taken prisoner and 175 were declared missing in action.

KBS is preparing a documentary regarding Ankara School. It will be broadcast on the KBS-1 on July 13.