Turkey and Korea

I went on a trip to Istanbul last week. I was surprised to see the following monument (Unfortunately, my Korean language skills are still very basic and I am not yet able to understand this text):


Next to the Galata Tower

And a surprisingly overwhelming number of Korean tourists was visiting Istanbul as well! I have never seen so much Korean people at one place – except for their home country of course.

turkey and korea

Aya Sophia

Always fashionably dressed, of course.

Topkapi palace

Topkapi palace – sorry for the bad quality

A Korean friend told me before that Turkey and South Korea have good relations. He mentioned the fact that Turkey supported Korea during war times and vice versa. He also said:

Here’s one more similarity between Turkey and Korea: language. Turkish and Korean root from the same language. It has the same word order and even some of the same words. So you’ll also be able to easily learn Turkish like Korean!

Although my friend clearly overestimated my language skills, I have to say that I as well discovered similarities in grammar and structure between Turkish and Korean/Japanese. That’s because these languages are Altaic languages.



Turkey and Korea are called blood brothers (혈맹 hyŏlmeng), mainly because Turkey sent a lot of troops to Korea during the Korean War. But not only in recent times, during history Turkish and Korean people worked together to beat the enemy, a role almost always allotted to China. Traces were found of ancient Koreans (Korea was called Koguryŏ in that time) visiting Samarkland during the 7th Century. They wanted to strengthen bonds with the nomadic tribes in order to overthrow the Tang dynasty. Though they didn’t really succeed in that, the allies won some crucial battles. These nomadic tribes are the ancient Turks (돌궐 Dolkwŏl), who migrated to the Turkey of today.



Ask a Korean

– Taek Joong-sshi


2 thoughts on “Turkey and Korea

  1. Een poging. Ook even de hanja toegevoegd aan het origineel, kan je versteld staan hoe begrijpelijk het plots wordt!

    2013이스탄불 — 경주세계문화엑스포 개최를 기념 하여, 실크로드 기점과 종점인 대한민국 경상북와 터키 이스탄불시의 영원한 우정을 위하여 이 비를 세운다.

    2013이스탄불 (Istanbul)— 경주 (慶州)세계문화 (世界文化)엑스포 (expo)개최 (開催)를 기념(記念)하여, 실크로드 (silkroad)기점 (起點)과 종점 (終點) 인 대한민국 경상북 (慶尙北道)와 터키 (Turkey)이스탄불 (Istanbul)시 (市)의 영원 (永遠)한 우정 (友情)을 위 (爲)하여 이 비 (碑)를 세운다.


    Een andere fascinerende overeenkomst tussen Koreaans en Turks, buiten de grammaticale structuur, is klinkerharmonie, iets wat het Japans ontbeert.

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