Relations between Turkey and Indonesia

Turkey and Indonesia’s relationship is close and multifaceted, with a wide range of areas for further cooperation. Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy, has the largest Muslim-majority population and occupies a strategic position along the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Turkish-Indonesian relations can be traced back to the 12th century. Turkish Islamic scholars who visited Indonesia during that period played an important role in the spread of Islam. The Sultanate of Aceh’s call for help from the Ottoman Empire due to the pressure from the Portuguese marked the beginning of the official relations between the two countries.

Turkey was one of the first countries to recognise Indonesia in 1949, following its independence from the Netherlands. Turkish Embassy in Jakarta opened on 10 April 1957.

As a result of the growing ties since 2004, both countries agreed to elevate the relationship to a strategic partnership in April 2011 when the 11th President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gül visited Indonesia, meeting the 6th President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. During the visit they signed the joint declaration, “Turkey and Indonesia: Towards an Enhanced Partnership in a New World Setting”, which remains the strong basis of the bilateral relations to date.

The visit to Indonesia by H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in late August 2015 bore witness to the quality of bilateral relations. During the visit, Turkish-Indonesia Business Forum meeting was held and Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen trade, investment and technology relations between the two countries.

Turkey and Indonesia cooperate in a number of multilateral institutions and forums, including the UN, OIC, G20, D-8, and MIKTA. Indonesia is one of the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In 2010, Turkey acceded to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Turkish Embassy in Jakarta has been accredited to ASEAN since then. Turkey’s application for the Sectoral Dialogue Partnership to ASEAN was approved at the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on 5 August 2017 in Manila.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, projected to be in the world’s top ten economies by 2030. Given Indonesia’s long-term economic potential, growing middle-class, and dynamic 258 million population, the bilateral economic ties can be further expanded.

In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, then Prime Minister, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the disaster-hit Banda Aceh on 6-7 February 2005. H.E. President Erdoğan paid an official visit to Indonesia on 30 July-1 August 2015. H.E. President Joko Widodo visited Turkey in July 2017.

People-to-people links are a vital component of close and friendly bilateral relations with Indonesia. A total of 2.400 Indonesians are registered to be resident in Turkey and around 400 Turkish citizens reside in Indonesia. 596 Indonesians has studied under Turkiye Scholarships at various Turkish universities. In 2017-2018 academic year, Turkey provided 65 scholarships to Indonesian students.