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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "Turkey and Japan are the two wings that will make Asia soar" at the Opening Ceremony of the Marmaray Project

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[Provisional Translation]

President Gul,
Speaker Cicek,
Prime Minister Erdogan,
ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations as you celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.
The Turkish people have done all the effort to strike a good balance between history and the challenges of modernization while valuing your traditions.
We who come from a country with long-established traditions on the eastern edge of Asia understand well the great efforts of you who stand at the western edge of Asia.  May Turkey and its people enjoy everlasting greatness and good fortune!
Today on this propitious day marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Republic, you have finally realized the dream of a century and a half of connecting with a railway the strait that separates Asia and Europe, a dream that you have held on to steadfastly since the first plans were drawn up in 1860.  I really wish to congratulate you heartily on achieving this.
When I met Prime Minister Erdogan in May, Tokyo and Istanbul were vying with each other to host the Olympic Games.  At that time, we promised each other that no matter which side was victorious, we would be the first to congratulate the winning side.
On September 7 in Buenos Aires when the decision was made for Tokyo to host the Games, Prime Minister Erdogan came straight to me before anyone else and gave me a congratulatory embrace.  Mr. Prime Minister, I was profoundly impressed by the courage and friendship you demonstrated at that time.
It is now my turn to congratulate you, Mr. Ergodan.  In May this year, you leaned forward and told me how important the Marmaray Project is and what a long-cherished wish its completion has been for Turkey.  You urged me to come to the opening ceremony.  Ladies and gentlemen, I consider it an honor to be able to fulfill the promise I made to Prime Minister Ergodan.
I understand that there is not a single precedent anywhere of constructing an immersed tube tunnel at a depth of approximately 60 meters.  I have also heard that even the experts among the experts had said that construction would be “close to impossible” due to the strong currents changing the water’s flow, depending on the depth of the water.
A man named Mr. Fumio Koyama of the Taisei Corporation is one of the people who has been directing the construction of the tunnel.  When asked what was the secret for success despite these hurdles, he answered, “Never giving up.”  He said, “Our staunch determination was both the first step and the last step towards our success.”  I think Mr. Koyama’s words really say it all about how difficult the construction has been.
For Turkey and Japan and all those who have been involved in this construction project, the world is applauding your creation.
I would like to express my appreciation once more for Turkey choosing Japan and Japanese companies to be its partner in this historic major undertaking that will be passed down over the generations and remain on the map forevermore.
Let us next share a dream in which Shinkansen “bullet trains” depart Tokyo for Istanbul and connect Istanbul to London.
Turkey, which has now achieved a robust economy, and Japan are partners in the G20.  In May of this year, our two countries pledged as strategic partners to deepen our dialogue and our cooperation of course diplomatically but also in security and economic matters, and to work together for the sake of the world.
Turkey and Japan, who are working to bring peace and stability to the world, are the two wings that support this vast Asia from East and West.
This image has recurred to me time and again as I set foot in the great city of Istanbul that connects East and West on this day on which you have realized the dream you have held for 150 years.
Bringing peace to Asia, as well as prosperity.  Turkey and Japan are the two wings that will make Asia soar.
Teşekkür ederim.


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