SEOUL -- Turkey asked North Korea earlier this month to return the remains of its soldier killed in the 1950-53 Korean War as the North prepares for the return of American war dead as agreed between the leaders of the two countries, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.
The source said the request was made by Turkish Ambassador to South Korea Ersin Ercin, who recently was named to concurrently work as the country's ambassador to North Korea, when he presented his credentials to the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam in Pyongyang earlier this month.
"For Turkey, one of its pending issues with North Korea is the return of the remains. I understand the envoy raised the issue on the occasion of the presentation of his credentials," the source said. "I haven't heard that there has been any conspicuous progress."
Turkey sent a 22,006-man force to the war in four batches from 1950 to 1953. Except for the fourth group of soldiers who arrived right after the war ended with a truce, 16,312 soldiers actually fought on the side of South Korea during the war. Of them, 724 died and 166 went missing, the second-highest casualty rate among the allies.
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