Belgium–Turkey relations

Belgian–Turkish relations are foreign relations between Belgium and Turkey. Belgium has an embassy in Ankara, a consulate–general in Istanbul and two consulates in Antalya and Izmir.[1] Turkey has an embassy in Brussels and a consulate–general in Antwerp.

Belgian–Turkish relations




Relations between the two countries started in 1837 with the recognition of independent Belgium by the Ottoman Empire. Diplomatic relations were established in 1848.[2]

Political relations

Turkey and Belgium are both members of the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Union for the Mediterranean. Also Belgium is a European Union member and Turkey is a candidate.

The approximately 230,000 Turkish citizens living in Belgium constitute an important aspect in Turkey's relations with Belgium.[3][4] They come predominantly from the Emirdağ district, located in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey.

In March 2019, the Turkish foreign ministry summoned the Belgian ambassador, Michel Malherbe, and relayed Turkey's unease after a Belgian court blocked the prosecution of some 30 people with alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).[5]

Belgium condemned the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria and called on Turkey to halt it immediately.[6] The Belgian government later decided to implement an arms embargo against Turkey.[7]

Economic relations

Trade volume between Turkey and Belgium has increased remarkably over the years and reached € 3 billion.[8] In 2006, Belgian exports to Turkey increased by 9,4% (€ 1,88 billion), whereas Turkish exports to Belgium increased 6,8% (€ 1,06 billion) comparing to 2005.[8] Belgium is the seventeenth largest trade partner of Turkey.[9]

The Turkish–Belgian Business Council, and organisations with similar aims, give priority to promoting commercial linkages. This council was established in 1990.[10] Small and medium size businesses play an important role in the economies of Turkey and Belgium.[8]

There are more than 200 Belgian firms operating in Turkey. The value of Belgian investments in Turkey is around € 300 million. On the other hand, the investment of Turkish companies in Belgium has exceeded € 1 billion.[8]

In 2008, more than 583,409 Belgian tourists visited Turkey.[9]


Guest Host Place of visit Date of visit Reference
Prime Minister Abdullah Gül Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt Brussels February 17, 2003 [11]
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Ankara and Istanbul November 2–4, 2003 [2]
President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Herman De Croo Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey Bülent Arınç Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Ankara November 28–December 1, 2004 [2]
Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül Ankara October 30–31, 2006 [2]
President Abdullah Gül King Albert II Brussels March 25–27, 2009 [12]
Prime Minister Yves Leterme Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Ankara December 29–30, 2009 [13]


The Embassy of Belgium is located in Ankara, Turkey. The Embassy of Turkey is located in Brussels, Belgium.

See also