Canada and Turkey have longstanding diplomatic relations. In 1947, Canada appointed its first resident Ambassador to Turkey, while Turkey opened a resident Embassy in Ottawa in 1944. In recent years as friends and allies, Canada and Turkey have expanded the depth and variety of their bilateral links as valued political, commercial, strategic, and security partners. In 2009, these links were further strengthened by a number of new initiatives, including the inauguration of direct flights between Toronto and Istanbul and the signing of an agreement to avoid double taxation.
Multilateral cooperation has grown through links in NATO, the United Nations and its agencies, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Council of Europe. Through these shared ties, Canada and Turkey are working together toward our common goal of promoting peace and stability throughout Europe and Central Asia.
Turkey and Canada's Armed Forces have enjoyed a longstanding cooperation. They are both committed to defending democratic values and global security within the frame work of international cooperation and security. Both military forces are excellent partners in the multilateral sphere and work together well within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). This has again been recently demonstrated through close Canadian and Turkish cooperation as major contributors to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Canada has a relatively strong commercial relationship with Turkey — the world's 18th largest economy, a G-20 member, and the third most populous nation in Europe (74.0 million) after Germany and Russia. Given its strategic geographic location and negotiated trade agreements, Turkey offers excellent access to markets in Europe (including preferential Customs Union access to the European Union), the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Canada-Turkey bilateral merchandise trade totalled a record high $2.4 billion in 2011, up 53.9 percent from 2010. Canadian exports to Turkey reached $1.3 billion in 2011, mainly in iron and steel, mineral fuels and oils, and vegetables. Turkey is Canada's 21st largest merchandise export market and the 40th largest source of merchandise imports.
Recently Turkey has experienced a surge of foreign direct investment from around the world. Many Canadian companies have recognized the great investment potential Turkey offers. Canadian investments in Turkey stood at about $1.5 billion in 2011 and Export Development Canada has identified the country as a strategic market of opportunity for Canadian firms.
Niche opportunities exist for Canadian investors, particularly in the energy, information and communication technologies, mining, education and infrastructure sectors. Commercial opportunities in Turkey match well with Canadian supply capabilities.
Last updated: July 2012
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