Bilateral Relations, 25.11.2022
Relations between Türkiye and the UK have a deep-rooted history. England was one of the first countries to appoint an Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. William Harborne was sent to Istanbul as Ambassador in 1583. Yusuf Agah Efendi, one of the first Ambassadors posted abroad by the Ottoman Empire, assumed his duty in London in 1793.
Multidimensional bilateral relations continue to develop in a wide spectrum and build upon the accumulation of centuries. The “Strategic Partnership Document” signed in 2007 as a reflection of the mutual will to further deepen bilateral relations in all fields was renewed in 2010. Economy, trade, tourism, defence industry and fight against terrorism are the main driving forces in our relations.
High level contacts between the two countries keep their pace. The last official visit at Head of State level was conducted to the United Kingdom by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye on 13-15 May 2018. President Erdoğan also visited UK on 3-5 December 2019 to attend the NATO Leaders’ Meeting and to inaugurate the Cambridge Mosque. H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, paid a working visit to UK on 8 July 2020. The then Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab visited Türkiye on 3 March 2020, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace on 11-13 March and 6 October 2020, UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) President Alok Sharma on 16-18 June 2021. H.E. Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence visited UK on 7-9 April 2021, H.E. Murat Kurum, Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change on 25-26 July 2021 for COP26 preparations and on 1-2 November and 8-9 November 2021 for COP26 meetings and H.E. Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism on 2 November 2021 for attending the WTM World Tourism Fair.
Economic and trade relations continue to improve dynamically. UK has been the third biggest export market for Türkiye in 2021. Türkiye has trade surplus in its trade with UK since 2001. Our trade volume, which was 16,2 billion Dollars in 2017, 18,6 billion Dollars in 2018, 16,9 billion Dollars in 2019 and 16,8 billion Dollars in 2020, surpassed 17,3 billion Dollars in January-November 2021.
Upon UK’s exit from the EU, Türkiye also signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with UK on 29 December 2020. The FTA is planned to be expanded with, including but not limited to, additional agricultural products, services and investments in the period ahead.
The Joint Economic and Trade Committee, which is headed by the Trade Ministers of both countries, continues to contribute to the development of trade and economic relations as a prominent bilateral trade mechanism.
UK is the third biggest direct investor in Türkiye after the Netherlands and the US. According to the data from the Central Bank of Türkiye, the total foreign direct investment of British companies to Türkiye was 11,7 billion Dollars between 2002-2020. In 2020, UK was the fourth biggest investor in Türkiye with 496 million Dollars, after Italy, US and the Netherlands. According to the data from the Central Bank of Türkiye, total Turkish investments to UK was 3,1 billion Dollars between 2002-2020. In 2020, Turkish investments to UK was 132 million Dollars.
As a regional manufacturing and export hub, Türkiye continues to present attractive investment opportunities to UK. British investors show special interest in the fields of automotive, defence industry, finance, health and energy. Turkish companies working with UK are generally active in the fields of white goods, food, textile, construction materials, tourism and shipping.
Türkiye and UK also work in close cooperation with the aim of spreading economic prosperity, stability, peace and security in different parts of the world. They act together against common challenges in many international organizations and groups including NATO and G-20. In this regard, regular exchanges of view are conducted with UK on many regional and international matters.
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