As the holiday season opens with the closure of schools, many people who want to go abroad turn their route to countries where there is no visa requirement. South Korea, which granted visa exemption to Turkish citizens on April 1, attracts great attention due to its cultural and social similarities as well as its historical friendship ties with Turkey.
While vacation plans are being made in many countries following the closure of schools, the citizens of our country are focusing on their trips abroad. The data published by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) for the first quarter of 2022 indicate that travel abroad from Turkey increased by 269,6% compared to the same quarter of the previous year, exceeding approximately 1 million people. While these figures are expected to increase even more in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year, which covers the summer season, countries that offer visa exemption are at the top of the international holiday routes. Among these countries is South Korea, which suspended the visa exemption it has been offering to Turkish passports since 1979 due to the pandemic in 2020 and reinstated it on April 1, 2022.
Pointing out that international tourists are more inclined to discover countries they feel socially, culturally and historically close to, Hyuncho Cho, Director of the Istanbul Office of the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO), evaluated the issue with the following words: We carry out activities promoting the good in Turkey. In this process, we see that the construction of both our culture and our history on similar phenomena and events attracts the attention of Turkish citizens. We also help Turkey and South Korea deepen their deep-rooted ties of friendship and help the people of the two countries discover more through cultural exchange. We are very pleased with the increase in visits from Turkey with the reintroduction of visa exemption.”
Turkish cemetery in South Korea attracts great attention
Stating that the ties between Turkey and South Korea date back to the Korean War in the early 50s, Hyuncho Cho said, “The roots of friendship between Turkey and South Korea are that Turkish soldiers came to South Korea far from their country to help in the Korean War that took place 70 years ago. based on their sacrifices. The 'United Nations Korea Memorial Cemetery', where Turkish soldiers are located in the martyrdom built by the United Nations in the city of Busan, is visited by thousands of people from Turkey every year. Moreover, a commemoration ceremony is held here every year by the government. Of course, our ties and similarities with Turkey are not limited to this. We have a common denominator on many issues from social life to food, from cultural activities to nature.”
There is a feeling of Turkish flavors in South Korean cuisine.
Social structures of South Korea and Turkey show similarities as a result of blending traditional with modern culture. Both countries integrate their customs and traditions into their social life in order to pass them on to future generations. For example, we see the same neighborhood culture, neighborly relations and solidarity structure that still exists in Turkey in the people of South Korea. These similarities in social structure are reflected even in culinary cultures, opening the door to similar tastes. For example, breakfasts with plenty of eggs and greens in South Korea; spicy, colorful and delicious dinners are preferred. Among the most well-known examples are foods called Kimchi (Pickle Type) and Mandu (Ravioli).
Music cultures are also an element that brings the two countries closer.
One of the similarities between Turkey and South Korea is music. Just like traditional Turkish music dating back to the palace life, there are also traditional Korean music called Jongmyo Jeryeak, as well as songs called pansori, produced on certain themes, performed by a drummer and telling a story. While these songs are an enjoyable option to understand the cultural richness of Korea, young people in Turkey are also very interested in the K-Pop culture that reflects today's South Korea.
Modern cities coexist with traditional villages
South Korea, just like Turkey, has a rich geography ranging from modern cities where cultures are intertwined to traditional villages and ancient-historical temples. For example, places such as the National Palace Museum of Korea, the National Folk Museum, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Square, and Jongmyo Shrine are among the first stops of tourists coming to the country. Moreover, there are mosques built by Turks where Muslim citizens can easily fulfill their religious requirements. Each example that creates elements such as food, music, history and social life represents and strengthens the ties between Turkey and South Korea.
KTO's support for Turkish travelers to discover Korea
Hyuncho Cho, Director of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Istanbul Office, stated that they started a campaign together with Asiana Airlines and CheapaBilet.com for more Turkish travelers to discover South Korea, which has opened its doors to travelers after the pandemic. He also announced that special discounts of 31 TL and additional special discounts on Asiana Airlines are offered to those who buy a flight ticket to South Korea via .com.