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Canada - Turkey Relations

Overview

Turkey is a 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 was the chair of the G20 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 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. In June 2018, President Erdoğan was elected as Turkey’s first executive President for a five year term, receiving 52.6% of the votes and with 87.1% voter turnout.

Since its foundation, Turkey’s foreign policy has largely focused 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 broadening its footprint and taking a more active role in international organizations and platforms.

"Vision 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. Canada welcomes a vibrant Turkish diaspora community of over 65,000, the majority of whom are concentrated in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary and Edmonton. In 2017, there were 3,855 Turkish students studying in Canada at the university, collegiate, language school, and K-12 levels.

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

There have been a number of high-level visits between Turkey and Canada in recent years. The former Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, visited Turkey in 2014, and the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly led a parliamentary delegation to Canada in February 2015. More recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Turkey for the 2015 G20 Summit in Antalya, meeting with both Turkish President Recep Erdoğan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. At the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in December 2015, former Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, met with Minister Çavuşoğlu at the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in February 2017, at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2017, and in Vancouver in January 2018. In January 2018, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Omar Alghabra, visited Turkey and met with the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Director-General of Consular Affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and the Chief Ombudsman of the Turkish Parliament, among others. In January 2019, Canada’s then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ian Shugart, traveled to Turkey for political consultations. In May 2019, Canada’s Speaker of the Senate, George Furey, traveled to Turkey and met with President Erdoğan, the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism among others.

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 law and global security. Both military forces are excellent partners in the multilateral sphere and work together well within NATO.

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 has provided a historical bridge between continents for transportation and trade.

Turkey is an emerging market of broad interest to Canada. It is also a priority market in the Government of Canada’s strategies for international education, and for infrastructure. In 2017, Canada-Turkey bilateral merchandise trade was over $3 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2016, making Turkey Canada’s 24th largest trading partner.

Turkey is the world's 17th largest economy and the third most populous nation in Europe (approximately 79.8 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.

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. In June 2019, Canada and Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), with a view to holding annual meetings between Canadian and Turkish officials and businesses to expand bilateral trade and investment opportunities.

June 2019


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Date Modified:
2019-06-26