Dear Turkish Veterans, I'm a Korean student attending Sungkwang Girls' High School located in Ulsan.
In order to commemorate the upcoming 63rd anniversary of the Korean War, the English newspaper club of my school had an opportunity to write a thank-you letter for a column intended for the Korean War combatant nations of U.N.
As a Korean, I greatly thank the Turkish veterans and their families for their support in the Korean War. I have always known that Turkey has been friendly with Korea as a fellow democratic country, but had no idea why and how we have been friendly nations.
Through my research about the Korean War, I found out that the conflict was not the exclusive connection we had.
We have maintained an amicable relationship since the Korean War, an armed conflict between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1950, up to the 2002 World Cup.
Especially, we thank your country for having sent 15,000 soldiers as the fourth-largest number of all the contingents. Also, we are grateful for the sacrifice of 3,500 noble veterans in the Korean War. I was deeply impressed by Turkish soldiers' courage and passion and saw the Korean War in a new way.
I was ashamed of myself to simply remember this war as just one historical event where the North Korean communists invaded the South at the dawn of June 25, 1950.
Moreover, the warriors of Turkey gave us a great help during many battles with invading troops. Particularly in the Kunuri Battle, the Turks prevented 85,000 Chinese troops from breaking through.
Additionally, although Turkey and Korea had language and culture barriers behind the great team work, both countries had overcome this problem by respecting each country's traditions and customs.
I deeply admire the young Turkish soldiers who fought for the unknown nation at that time and devoted all their dreams and futures. Thanks to your support, Korea's unstable livelihood, social order and economic base were given a chance to bounce back for better economic development and stabilization.
To show our appreciation, during the match between Turkey and South Korea in the 2002 World Cup, Koreans spread a large Turkish national flag to cover the stadium and cheered for a nice game.
Turkey and Korea's friendly relationship has become even better through a free trade agreement (FTA) which took effect on May 1. Turkey is Korea's ninth FTA partner.
If it had not been for your country's faithful and brave veterans, Korea may not have developed into one of the G20 economies or the world's seventh-largest trading country.
Before finishing this letter, I personally look forward to inviting the Turkish veterans, who are still alive, to Korea. Korea is no longer a poverty-stricken country as it was during the Korean War. It has emerged as an IT powerhouse, which now helps other countries in need.
So please come to see what your sacrifice did to help Korea make great changes. Lastly, looking back on the Korean War, I intensely realized the tragedy of the war and the sacrifice of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our country.
I will cherish in my mind all of your sacrifices forever. Sincerely, I appreciate Turkish veterans' dedication during the Korean War. We are Kankardesh (blood allies) forever!
Jang Mi-joo is a student at SungKwang Girls' High School in Ulsan.