The relations between two nations date back to the landing of the Newfoundland Regiment in Gallipoli, Çanakkale in 1915.
The bilateral relations between Turkey and Canada started in June of 1943, ensuing the request from the Republic of Turkey to open its Embassy in Ottawa. Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King announced on November 25, 1943 the establishment of the diplomatic relations between two countries. Mehmet Ali Şevki Alhan, the first Minister of the Republic of Turkey to Canada arrived in Ottawa from his Minister Counsellor post in Washington, US on Februaray 15, 1944 and presented his letter of credence on March 6, 1944. He was received by the Canadian Foreign Minister on March 21, 1944. He unfortunately passed away on duty on June 26, 1947. When the Mission was upgraded to Embassy in August 1947 the first Turkish Ambassador Ali Muzaffer Göker arrived in Ottawa on October 30, 1947 and presented his credentials on November 12, 1947. General Victor W. Odlum, the first Ambassador of Canada to Turkey, presented his credentials to İsmet İnönü, second President of the Republic of Turkey, on November 26, 1947.
Turkish Embassy is located on 197 Wurtemburg Street, operating in an historical building which has served as the Turkish Embassy since 1953. The Office of the Counsellor for Economic Affairs, the Office of the Counsellor for Commercial Affairs, and the Office of the Armed Forces Attaché are also located within the building.
The original part of the chancery was built in 1869 as a two-and-one-half story mansion in the “Picturesque Neo-Gothic” style for the personal use of William F. Whitcher, the Commissioner (Minister) of Fisheries. The Children’s Hospital which occupied the structure from 1888 until 1904. The two wings and the late-Victorian half-timbering were added after 1896. A photograph from the early 20th century shows a perpendicular fanlight and sidelights around the main entrance, and a latticed archway covered by a roof between the entrance frontispiece and a later frontispiece to the right of it. Since then, windows on the upper and lower floors have been reconfigured, a second entrance has been placed in the right frontispiece, and semi-circular porticos supported by brackets have been placed over both entrances. This edifice stands out as the epitome of how numerous sumptuously adorned mansions, which were built in the aftermath of the Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783, have successfully transitioned from serving as the private mansion to senior governmental officials and ministers, to officiating as a governmental institution after enduring for years under distinct functions. These are the distinguished inhabitants of 195-197 Wurtemburg:
1869-1888 Residence of William F. Whitcher, the Commissioner of Fisheries
1888-1904 Ottawa Childrens’ Hospital
1905-1921 Family Residence of Leslie Stuart Macoun
(1907-1909 Thomas Boyd Caldwell, Member of Parliament)
(1912-1932, George F. Macdonnell)
(1934-1936, Llyod B. Rochester)
(1937-1941, Louis Cote, Senator)
1922-1923 Mansion of John R. Allan
1924-1927 Residence of Brigadier General Andrew McNaughton
1928- The House remained vacant
1929-1930 Mansion of Frederick Mayer
1930-1931 Leslie Stuart Macoun returned to the Mansion
1932-1933 Residence of J. H. Lerougtel, Secretary of the British Legation
1933- The House remained vacant
1934- Mansion of Edward Hastey
1935-1937 Residence of Itano Goto, Japanese Legation
1937- Residence of Ely E. Palmer, the US Consul General
1938-1941 Residence of John Simmons, the US Consul General
1942-1944 Residence of William Van Tets, Private Secretary of Princess Juliano of the Netherlands while she is in exile in Ottawa
1945-1949 Residence of Homer Fox, the US Commercial Attaché
1950-1951 Residence of Madin Dimechkie, the Consul General of Lebanon
1951-1953 Residence of Makaish Muktar, the Consul General of Lebanon
1953-1999 Residence and the Chancery of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
(Turkey bought the house on February 25,1953 and started its full representation in the building on March 12, 1953)
1999- The Chancery of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Upon application of the Embassy, the house was designated as a Heritage Property by the City of Ottawa in 1980.
Detailed information can be found about the Embassy and Residence buildings of Turkey in the book titled "A Tale of Two Houses" (Ottawa, 2018) written by Ambassadrice Lerzan Kayıhan Ünal, PhD, published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Canada.
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