The Turkish memorial and museum is a tourist attraction in Wakayama Prefecture. The place ranks first on the list of must-see local attractions. It is also the third most visited place.
The Turkey Memorial and Museum (トルコ軍艦遭難記念碑) is located in Kii Oshima in Kushimoto City, Wakayama Prefecture, the monument pays homage to the sailors of the frigate Otamano Ertuğrul warship, which sank in 1890 in Japan, where 587 sailors died.
With the ceremony in memory of the victims of the Turkish warship, the friendship between the city of Kushimoto and the Republic of Turkey deepened, and the Turkish Memorial was built as a testament to this goodwill.
The main reason Turkey is so pre-Japanese is that it is famous for its dedicated rescue efforts in this case, an incident surprisingly unknown to Japanese in Japan, including the memorial, but it is a relatively famous incident in Turkey.
In the 20th year of the Meiji Era, Emperor Komatsunomiya Akihito visited Istanbul on his way home after a tour of Europe and had an audience with the Ottoman Emperor of Turkey (Sultan).
In response, the 2.344-ton ship Ertuğrul built in 1863 by the Ottoman Navy was dispatched. He left Istanbul on 14 July 1889 with over 600 sailors and officers on board for an official visit to Japan.
The Ship arrived at Yokohama Port on June 7 and left Yokohama on September 16, 1890, to return to Istanbul after a stay of three months. Around midnight on September 16, due to a typhoon was dragged to the rocky reef, where the wooden ship was destroyed and sunk, 587 sailors died and 69 crew were miraculously saved by the local residents, six officers and sixty-eight three sailors survived, most of them wounded. They were treated in Kobe and then sent to Turkey on the warships “Kongo” and “Hiei” at the behest of Emperor Meiji.
A museum was established near the memorial in cooperation with the city of Kushimoto and the Turkish Embassy in Japan. It opened on December 14, 1974.
In the museum, objects initially recovered from the wreckage by fishermen, belongings and photos of the ship’s officers and sailors, a model of the Turkish warship Ertugrul, as well as relics and ancient documents of the time, Turkish folk crafts are also on display.
Later, a corner was added to the museum dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Items shipped from Mersin and Yakakent (Turkey) are also on display at the museum.
In February 1891, 150 bodies recovered from the wreckage were buried in a newly created cemetery. On September 15, 1891, the first anniversary of the disaster, a monument was erected 400 meters away at the crash site, near Kushimoto’s Kashinozaki Lighthouse.
A second memorial stone was erected by the Japanese and Turkish Trade Association on April 5, 1929 and visited by Emperor Hirohito on June 3 of the same year. After this information reached Turkey, its government proposed a new monument. Construction began on October 22, 1936, and the opening ceremony took place on June 3, 1937 in the presence of the Turkish ambassador.
On the second floor of the lighthouse it is possible to see the stones that the ship hit, losing more than 587 lives. It was a very painful incident, but it is considered the origin of the friendship between Japan and Turkey.
Entrance Monument and Lighthouse: Free
Adult Museum: 500 yes / Children (from 6 to 18 years old): 250 yes
Time Museum: 9:00 to 17:00
Parking: Free (84 vacancies)
Wakayama-ken Higashimuro Kushimoto-cho Kashino