Relations between Turkey and Latvia

Turkey recognized the independence of Latvia in 1925. The occupation and annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union has never been recognized by Turkey. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, diplomatic relations between the two countries were re-established on 3 September 1991. Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation was signed on 12 July 1994 between the two countries.

Bilateral relations between Turkey and Latvia are developing steadily. Latvia’s NATO and EU memberships have brought the two countries much closer in terms of common objectives. Latvia renders support for Turkey’s EU membership.

Reciprocal high level visits consolidates the developing relations in various fields. In this respect H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Latvia on 22-23 October 2014 and former President of the Republic of Latvia H.E. Andris Berzins’ visit to Turkey on 16-17 April 2014 were considered as significant mile stones for providing a new momentum to promising bilateral relations.

H.E. Edgars Rinkevics, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, visited Turkey on 29 September 2016.

In 2016, the overall volume of trade between the two countries reached 398 million USD (exports 196 million US Dollars; imports 202 million US Dollars).

Main items of Turkey’s exports to Latvia consist of automotive supply industry products, textile products, jewelry, mineral oils, machine-made carpets, central heating boilers, radiators, packing materials and cables while the main items of its imports from Latvia include metal and metal products, mineral oils, livestock, plywood and plates.

In the period of 2002-September 2017, total amount of direct investments from Latvia to Turkey is 91 million USD. This figure is 71 million USD from Turkey to Latvia in the same period.

Turkey is the most preferred tourism destination for Latvian people. In 2016, approximately 35 thousand Latvian tourists visited Turkey.

The Declaration on Establishing Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) between Turkey and Latvia was signed during the visit of former Latvian President H.E. Andris Berzins to Turkey in 2014.

Turkey is the most preferred tourism destination for Latvian people. In 2016, more than 34 thousand Latvian tourists visited Turkey.

In Latvia, there are two Turkology departments, which were established in 2004 and 2011, at the University of Latvia and the Latvian Academy of Culture respectively.

There is a Turkish martyrs cemetery in the town of Cesis, which dates back to the Great War between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in 1877-1878. The Turkish prisoners of war were taken to Latvia, which was then a part of the territory of the Russian Empire. Those who perished due to heavy wounds and diseases were buried in Cesis.