Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye meets the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye


Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye, H.E. Ms. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake met with H.E. Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye on 19 September 2023 at the Ministry of Culture of Tourism in Ankara.


Ambassador congratulated the Minister for his appointment as the Minister of Culture and Tourism and also extended her wishes for Gordion, an ancient archaeological site in Polatli, where the ancient road between Lydia and Assyria/Babylonia crossed the Sangarius river, dating back to Early Bronze Age (c. 2300 BCE) had been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on 18th September 2023.


Ambassador highlighted the long standing relationship between Türkiye and Sri Lanka, evidence by the silk route of the sea, with cultural influences spreading with trading communities, noting that some Sri Lankan Muslims still wearing the Fez Cap, which is also called “Turki Toppi” in Tamil, during the marriage ceremonies in Sri Lanka.


Ambassador also underscored the significance of both countries in terms of trading hubs, not only during ancient times, but in the modern times as well.


Further, Ambassador emphasized on the significance of the year 2023 for both countries with Sri Lanka commemorating its 75th anniversary of independence, Türkiye celebrating its 100th anniversary of establishment of the Republic and the two countries celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations.

Among the key activities to celebrate 2023, the Embassy in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries and the Turkish embassy in Colombo preparations are underway to issue postal stamps simultaneously on 29th October 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. She also indicated that Mr. Vasantha Perera, a renowned Sri Lankan artist has agreed to design the stamps and he would be visiting Türkiye later this year for an exhibition and to start painting series on Türkiye.


The Minister was appreciated that Ambassador has already visited over 25 ancient archaeological sites in Türkiye within a short period of time. Ambassador and the Minister exchanged views on how to increase bilateral tourism promotion.


Further, Ambassador also highlighted the famous Turkish Tele dramas such as “Kadin” (women), which is dubbed in Sinhala which was much popular in Sri Lanka and emphasized how such TV series could increase understanding among people, as  apart of cultural diplomacy that contributes to tourism, and to economic and political diplomacy between the two countries in the long term.


Ambassador also indicated in the discussion that a Sri Lanka Film festival in Türkiye would be organized in 2024 with the contribution of Ms. Anomaa Rajakaruna, Cinematographer and renowned Sri Lankan writer and Poet, Ms. Sunetra Rajakarunanayake and Mr. Eranda Mahagamage, independent filmmaker and writer and currently persuading his PhD at Istanbul Medeniyet University in Türkiye. Notably, Ambassador also shared the skills of a talented Sri Lanka Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Niluka Kadurugamuwa, currently the Deputy High Commissioner at the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi who has translated 02 novels of the Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk, “Red Haired Woman” and “My name is Red”.


Ambassador also indicated the upcoming Sri Lanka Day events to be held in Adana, Antalya, Bursa and Izmir which would be trade and cultural promotion for Sri Lanka.


The Minister was very pleased and interested in the activities planned by the Embassy and it was requested to consider combining those with international events organized the Ministry of Culture of Tourism for broader visibility. The Minister assured their fullest support in enhancing bilateral cooperation in culture and tourism.


H.E. the Minister and Ambassador exchanged views on tourism promotion between Türkiye and Sri Lanka, noting that the direct flight between Istanbul and Colombo, has brought the cost of air fare down, which would positively promote tourism between the countries.