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Canada - Turkey Relations

Overview

Turkey is a democratic, secular, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. It is an increasingly significant actor regionally and globally, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a candidate for European Union accession, and will assume the G20 presidency in 2015. Turkey is also a founding member of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank, the United Nations and many of its agencies, and is a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In August 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected President in the country’s first-ever direct presidential election, after serving for 11 years as the Prime Minister.

Since its foundation, Turkey’s foreign policy has largely focussed on maintaining strong relations with the West and developing and improving relations with neighbouring countries. Turkey’s location also shapes its foreign policy objectives as it continues to expand cooperation with partners on strategic and security issues in the region. Globally, Turkey is expanding its footprint and taking a more active role in international organizations and platforms.    

‘Horizon 2023’ represents the Turkish Government’s ambitious plans for Turkey’s economic and social development through 2023 - the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.  Embodied in Vision 2023 is Turkey’s ambition to:

  • join the European Union
  • develop as a knowledge-based economy
  • grow further as regional manufacturing hub, particularly in higher-end products
  • provide a safe and secure energy conduit from the Caucasus and Middle East to Europe
  • serve as a transportation corridor to Asia and the Middle East

Bilateral Relations

Canada and Turkey have longstanding diplomatic relations. In 1944, Turkey opened an Embassy in Ottawa and in 1947, Canada appointed its first Ambassador to Turkey. 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. These links were further strengthened by a number of new initiatives, including an Air Transport Agreement facilitating air travel and cargo between our two countries, and the signing of an agreement to avoid double taxation. In February 2014, the Senate of Canada adopted The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s report Building Bridges: Canada-Turkey Relations and Beyond. The report recommends Canada deepen political engagement and enhance commercial diplomacy. The Canadian Government’s response was tabled in the Senate in July 2014.  

Multilateral cooperation has grown through links in NATO, the United Nations and its agencies, the OSCE, the OECD, and the Council of Europe. Through these shared ties, Canada and Turkey are working together toward a common goal of promoting peace and stability throughout Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.

High-Level Visits

In Ottawa in 2012, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and current Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu inaugurated a monument to fallen diplomats, dedicated to Turkish Colonel Attila Altikat. Ministers Ed Fast and John Baird visited Turkey in August and September 2013 respectively, and have made it a priority to enhance bilateral relations. Most recently, the Speaker of the House of Commons Andrew Scheer visited Turkey in March 2014.

Military and Defense Cooperation

Turkey and Canada's Armed Forces have enjoyed a longstanding cooperation. They are both committed to defending democratic values and global security within the framework of international cooperation and security. Both military forces are excellent partners in the multilateral sphere and work together well within 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.

The Government of Turkey has also provided refuge to more than 1.5 million people fleeing the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Canada is committed to help ease the overall burden on Turkey and is one of only a few countries to operate a resettlement program out of Turkey. Currently, Canada has an ongoing multi-year resettlement commitment to resettle 5,000 refugees now in Turkey by 2018.

Trade and Investment

Turkey enjoys strong economic fundamentals, a young entrepreneurial population and a dynamic market.  Its economy is underpinned by a strong financial system and is well-rounded, featuring rich agricultural and mineral resources, a robust manufacturing industry and a strong services sector. While its lack of oil creates economic risks, Turkey’s geographic location provided a historical bridge between continents for transportation and trade.

In Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP) announced in late 2013, Turkey was designated as an emerging market of broad interests to Canada. It is also a priority market in the Government of Canada’s strategies for international education, and for infrastructure.

Turkey is the world's 17th largest economy, a G20 member, and the third most populous nation in Europe (approximately 76.0 million) after Germany and Russia. Given its strategic geographic location and trade agreements with other countries, Turkey offers opportunities to access other markets in the region, both through partnering with Turkish companies which are established in those other markets, and through its position as a regional hub.

Canada-Turkey bilateral merchandise trade stood at $2.2 billion in 2013. Turkey is Canada’s 34th largest trading partner. Canadian merchandise exports to Turkey were $888 million in 2013, and consisted mainly of mineral fuels and oils, paper products, iron and steel, and vegetables. Canadian investments in Turkey stood at about $824 million in 2013.

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.

October 2014


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Date Modified:
2014-10-28