Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gediz arrived at the Colombo Port yesterday. The goodwill visit of the ship (from April 26 to 28) to Sri Lanka is part of the commemoration activities of the 125th anniversary of the voyage of Frigate Ertuğrul to Japan.
During its 122-day mission which started on April 1 from the Port of Aksaz, TCG Gediz will visit 18 ports in 14 countries and cover 20.300 nautical miles.
Hundred and twenty five years ago, in response to a visit of friendship paid by the Japanese royal family members to Istanbul in 1887, Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II ordered a reciprocal visit. The Ertuğrul frigate, which departed from Istanbul on July 14, 1889, continued its travel by visiting the ports including the Port of Colombo along the route.
On its way to Japan, the ship arrived at the Colombo Port on November 1, 1889 and stayed there for five days. During her stay in Colombo, it is said to have been visited by 10s of 1000s of Sri Lankans.
Eleven months after departure, in June 1890, the frigate arrived in Yokohama port in Japan. The Commander of the ship - Osman Pasha and his crew managed to complete a successful visit.
On the return voyage, however, the frigate, which set out in September, sank on September 16, 1890, near the Japanese port of Kushimoto, leaving 531 Ottoman sailors dead. Only 69 of the crew survived. The voyage of Frigate Ertuğrul ended up tragically as the ship was caught by a typhoon. During the commemorative visit of TCG GEDİZ, the commanders of the ship will meet senior naval officials/field commanders in Colombo and joint military training programmes will be conducted by the crew and Sri Lanka Navy personnel. The visit will contribute to further enhancement of the bilateral relations and people-to-people contacts between the military authorities of the two friendly countries.