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

Belgium

Turkey

History


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]

Visits


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]

Embassies


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

See also


References