Relations between Turkey and Italy

Turkey’s relations with Italy date back to the times of the Ottoman Empire, which had close relationships with such Italian city states as Genoa and Venice. In fact, relations between the Ottoman Empire and Venice go back to 1381. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Italy were established in 1856 (in 2006, the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations were celebrated with a number of activities).

Today, Turkey and Italy are two regional powers that share common interests, common history, and common values in the Mediterranean basin. In this respect, it would be appropriate to define Turkish-Italian bilateral relations as a strategic partnership.

Turkey and Italy work together to find solutions to regional and global issues as well. From Afghanistan to Lebanon the two countries cooperate with a view to bringing peace and stability to a vast geography.

Italy is currently Turkey’s 4th biggest trade partner. Current fields of cooperation include energy, defense industry, tourism, infrastructure, automotive, and chemicals; but there is still a great potential to further develop economic and commercial relations.

As a founding member of the European Union, Italy supports Turkey’s membership to the EU. It is widely agreed in Italy that as an important and reliable regional power, Turkey will make important contributions to the European Union and help the Union to become a true global power.

There are three important platforms that make it possible to exchange views regarding various dimensions of Turkish-Italian relations: Turkey-Italy Intergovernmental Summits, Turkish-Italian Forum, and Turkish-Italian Media Forum. The Second Turkey-Italy Intergovernmental Summit was held in Rome on 8 May 2012. The Eighth Turkish-Italian Forum and The 3rd Turkish-Italian Media Forum were organized in İstanbul on 24-25 November 2011 and on 4 July 2010 respectively. These platforms also contribute to the institutionalization of bilateral relations.

Turkey-Italy bilateral trade volume increased to 21.3 billion Dollars in 2011. The number of Italian firms operating in Turkey exceeded 900. They are engaged in various sectors such as transportation, banking, telecommunication, construction, electronics and pharmaceuticals. Total amount of Italian direct investment in Turkey exceeded 4,5 billion Dollars. Considering the level of our economic and trade relations, we expect more direct investment from Italy. We also encourage our companies to increase their presence in Italy. Currently 44 Turkish companies operate in Italy. Total amount of Turkish investments is around 140 million euros.

In 2011, around 750 thousand Italian tourists visited Turkey. We are happy to note that this figure has been growing on a steady basis in recent years.