Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey has "strong ties of affection" with Japan, recalling the historical friendship between the two countries in his official visit to Japan.
Erdogan touched upon the historical friendship between Turkey and Japan by recalling the tragic story of the Ottoman frigate "Ertugrul" which sank off an island close to Kushimoto town in Japan in September 1890 while returning from an amicable visit to the Japanese emperor.
The Turkish president said, "The people of Kushimoto helped to save the injured sailors of the frigate Ertugrul, in a saga which became a milestone in the historical friendship between Turkey and Japan."
"We are two great nations, two countries located in the far west and east of Asia; despite the long distance, we have strong ties of affection with Japan," he added.
Erdogan also thanked Japanese children who have looked after the monument which was erected in memory of the soldiers who died in the disaster by Japanese government in 1891, saying, "I would like to thank those children, who have small bodies but great hearts."
Erdogan gave his speech at Waseda University in the country's capital city Tokyo where he was also given an honorary doctorate.
Erdogan also held talks with Japan's Emperor Akihito in a closed meeting which lasted about 30 minutes ahead of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
During the meeting, Turkish President stated that 1000 acres of land has been reserved for a Turkey-Japan Science and Technology University in Istanbul.
For his part, Abe emphasised the significance of Turkey’s Marmaray underground rail system which crosses the Bosphorus, the first phase of which opened in October 2013.
"Turkey, with that project, established wings holding the Asian continent from east to west," he said.
Erdogan called for more investment from Japan and a nearly tenfold increase in foreign trade between the two countries which stood at around $3.6 billion in 2014.
Erdogan told Japanese businesspeople in a Turkish Investment Agency forum in Tokyo on Thursday, "By 2023, we have a goal of reaching $30-35 billion in trade volume. Let's achieve that number."
He also added that, compared to recent developments in Japan’s investment in Turkey, "the potential is much higher than the actual numbers,"
Erdogan said he expected Japanese investment in Turkey to ground by around $1 billion a year and said that Turkish institutions would support and encourage that investment.