Belgium–Turkey relations

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Belgian–Turkish relations
Map indicating locations of Belgium and Turkey



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 İzmir.[1] Turkey has an embassy in Brussels and a consulate–general in Antwerp.


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[edit]

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]

Economic relations[edit]

Trade volume between Turkey and Belgium has increased remarkably over the years and reached € 3 billion.[6] 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.[6] Belgium is the seventeenth largest trade partner of Turkey.[7]

The Turkish–Belgian Business Council, and organisations with similar aims, give priority to promoting commercial linkages. This Council was established in 1990.[8] Small and medium size businesses play an important role in the economies of Turkey and Belgium.[6]

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.[6]

In 2008, more than 583,409 Belgian tourists visited Turkey.[7]


Guest Host Place of visit Date of visit Reference
Prime Minister Abdullah Gül Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt Brussels February 17, 2003 [9]
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 [10]
Prime Minister Yves Leterme Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Ankara December 29–30, 2009 [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Belgian Foreign Policy: Bilateral relations / Southeast Europe / Turkey
  2. ^ a b c d Turkey´s Political Relations with Belgium / Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. ^ King Baudouin Foundation. "Belgian-Turks A Bridge or a Breach between Turkey and the European Union?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  4. ^ King Baudouin Foundation. "Turkish communities and the EU" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  5. ^ Tulay Karadeniz and Philip Blenkinsop (March 11, 2019), Turkish foreign ministry summons Belgium's ambassador in Ankara Reuters.
  6. ^ a b c d Turkey´s Commercial and Economic Relations with Belgium / Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  7. ^ a b Türkiye–Belçika Ticari ve Ekonomik İlişkileri / T.C. Dışişleri Bakanlığı (in Turkish)
  8. ^ "Turkish - Belgian Business Council", Turkey-Now, accessed 23 July 2009.
  9. ^ Belçika Başbakanı Abdullah Gül'ün Gönlünü Aldı (in Turkish)
  10. ^ President Gül Meets King Albert II of Belgium
  11. ^ Belgian Prime Minister Leterme arrives in Turkey, Zaman, December 29, 2009

External links[edit]