The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ankara celebrated 75th Anniversary of Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on 04 February 2023 at the Embassy premises with the participation of the Sri Lankan community and Foreign Ministry, who braved the heavy snowing in the capital.
Ambassador Oguzhan Ertugrul, Director General of South Asia, Mr. Ali İhsan Izbu, Deputy Director General of South Asia and Mr. Burak Bingol, Desk Officer for Sri Lanka at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye were among special invitees.
The Ceremony commenced with hoisting of Sri Lankan national flag followed by singing of the national anthem of Sri Lanka in Sinhala and Tamil followed by two minutes silence observed to commemorate those who have sacrificed their lives for the motherland.
Blessings of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths were invoked by representatives of those faiths, to wish prosperity, determination and resilience for Sri Lankan people as well as for the people of Turkiye. This was followed by reading of the Independence Day Messages of the President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
H.E the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye, Ms. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake thanked the guests who attended the event despite the severe weather conditions and stressed on significance of the event, also noting that in 2023 we also celebrate the 75th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Türkiye, with Türkiye being one of the earliest countries which recognized Sri Lanka after its independence.
Ambassador appreciated the roles played by her predecessors, particularly the first Ambassador and her father who had been Hony. Consuls for Turkiye for many years had solid contacts with Turkish people that paved the way for appointing many Hony. Consuls for Sri Lanka covering regions of Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Nevsehir, Gaziantep, Bursa, Erzurum and Trabzon. Ambassador thanked the Hony. Consuls for their valuable contributions and support for Sri Lanka promotional activities since her arrival only 03 months ago.
In partnership with the Hony. Consuls, she expressed her confidence that even amidst a range of barriers the Embassy would be able to achieve greater targets, for the mutual benefit. Furthermore, Ambassador emphasized that there is vast potential for bilateral cooperation in investment, trade and tourism and assured that she would be working with the team at the Embassy and the Hony. Consuls, towards realizing the same.
It was also highlighted that Sri Lanka and Türkiye maintains a good relationship and is looking to enhance political relationship further as well.
Ambassador Hasanthi Dissanayake emphasized that the President Ranil Wickremesinghe has prioritized climate change as an important element that Sri Lanka needs to focus on and is in the process of setting up of the world’s first university dedicated to studies of climate change.
“This is in the context of the projections of the 6th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which projects that the” countries with a coastline will be hard hit and both small island nations and nations with densely populated coastal cities will be the most affected. That’s where our livelihoods that depend on ocean will be challenged such as fisheries, port and shipping, agriculture and tourism. These circumstances are forcing countries to come together to minimize and at least adapt to evolving situations as climate change impacts are transboundary”, Ambassador noted.
In addition she mentioned that, Sri Lanka can be proud about the contributions it has made over the decades, of course sometimes through trial and error, to preserve its high biodiversity, genetic resources and to increase its potential to absorb carbon, which also contribute for the common good of the people of the planet earth, not just only those in Sri Lanka.
Something that Sri Lanka can proudly celebrate is that what Sri Lanka has achieved as a developing country in sustainable use of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation of measures to face climate change impact.
In 2018, Sri Lanka took the lead to head an Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods under the commonwealth Blue Charter. Our country is the first in the world to develop policy, guidelines and strategic action plan for conservation and sustainable utilization of mangroves.
In 2019 Sri Lanka submitted its Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC mechanism which has 03 key features, in comparison with several similar countries. They are that Sri Lanka commits to achieving net zero carbon by 2050, to generate 70% electricity from renewable energy sources and that Sri Lanka will not build any more coal power plants. In 2019 Sri Lanka also launched an international initiative to halve the Nitrogen Waste globally by 2030.
In 2022, Sri Lanka, supported by 24 countries brought in a Resolution at the UN to declare 1st of March as the World Seagrass Day to highlight the significance of seagrass as feeding and breeding areas for a number of fish species, and moreover, as a massive carbon sink.
She emphasized that the contribution of Sri Lanka in sustainable use of blue carbon is something we can humbly be proud of and that Sri Lanka could share with Türkiye as well.
“Sri Lanka is globally recognized for its advancement and commitment in contribution to mitigate climate change impact and the efforts to sustainable manage unparalleled ecosystems, diversity and the high endemism our greater assets. Such efforts locally are being recognized now more and more, locally and globally” she noted.
She concluded remarking that at 75, as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, Sri Lankans are poised to work together as a nation with one identity.
After the conclusion of the official ceremony of the event, the participants enjoyed Sri Lankan traditional delicacies and Ceylon tea.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
04 February 2023