Turkey– Bangladesh Relations

Relations between Turkish and Bengali nations have strong historical and cultural roots dating back before the foundation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The Muslims of South Asia including the Bengalis, had supported the Turkish National Struggle. The respect and admiration for Atatürk is reflected in the epic poem “Kamal Pasha”, written by Kazi Nazrul Islam, National Poet of Bangladesh, in 1921. This poem has been on the curriculum in Bangladesh schools. Besides, one major avenue in Dhaka and another one in Chittagong have been named as “Kemal Atatürk Avenue”. Furthermore, a high school in Dagan Bhuiyan, in Feni and a Turkish language center in Dhaka Cantonment were named as “Atatürk Model High School” and “Mustafa Kemal Turkish Language Center”. In the same vein, the support of the Bengal people during the Turkish National Struggle is still remembered with gratitude by the Turkish people.

Turkey recognized Bangladesh on 22 February 1974 on the occasion of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) Summit which was held in Lahore. The Turkish Embassy in Dhakka was opened in 1976 and the Embassy of Bangladesh in Ankara in 1981.

Turkey increased its aid activities in 2017, as a new wave of Rohingya Muslims sheltered in Bangladesh due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. In this context, H.E. Emine Erdoğan, Spouse of President of Turkey together with H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, H.E. Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Minister of Family and Social Policies paid a visit on 6-7 September 2017 and H.E. Recep Akdağ, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey paid a visit on 27 September 2017 to Bangladesh, in order to examine the living conditions of Rohingya Muslims and discuss the Turkish humanitarian aid effort.

The latest high level visit to Bangladesh from Turkey was the Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım’s visit on 18-20 December 2017. The Prime Minister held meetings with H.E. Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh and H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and visited Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazaar.

The most recent high level visit from Bangladesh to Turkey was the visit of H.E. Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh, in the context of the OIC Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul. During the summit, the two Presidents also held a bilateral meeting.

H.E. Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, accompanied by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms Dipu Moni visited Turkey to participate in the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries which took place in İstanbul on 9-13 May 2011. Prime Minister Hasina also paid an official visit to Turkey on 10-13 April 2012 upon the invitation of the then Prime Minister Erdoğan.

Lastly, H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, met with H.E. Hasan Mahmud Ali, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, during the abovementioned visit to Bangladesh on 6-7 September 2017.