Relations Between Turkey and Belgium

The diplomatic relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Belgium established in 1838 are developing in a positive way.

Belgian King Philippe, then-Crown Prince, together with a trade delegation, visited Turkey on 15-19 October 2012.

The state visit by the President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to Belgium on 4-6 October 2015 was the first ever state visit from Turkey to Belgium. During the visit, President Erdoğan had meetings with King Philippe, Prime Minister Charles Michel, President of the Senate Christine Defraigne and President of the House of Representatives Siegfried Bracke.

President Erdoğan and King Philippe inaugurated the Europalia International Art Festival on the margins of the state visit. The festival took place in 44 cities in Belgium and its neighboring countries for 118 days. During the festival, 248 events were organized by 604 artists and experts. Cooperation was established with 127 cultural partners. In that period, 472.517 visitors visited the activities of the festival.
The third meeting of Turkey-Belgium Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Interior took place in Ankara on 9 March 2016. The first and second trilateral meetings at ministerial level were held in 2008 (Istanbul) and in 2013 (Brussels). In the meeting, issues related to the fight against terrorism, judicial and police cooperation and consular affairs as well as regional and international developments were discussed.

The Turkish community of approximately 220 thousand people living in Belgium is an essential component of our bilateral relations. Turks constitute the second biggest foreigner group in Belgium. 12 Belgians of Turkish origin have been elected to Belgian Parliaments in the Federal and Regional elections on 25 May 2014 (7 to Federal Parliament, 4 to Brussels-Capital region Parliament, 1 to Flemish Parliament). Among them, Emin Özkara has been elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Brussels-Capital region Parliament on 10 June 2014. Güler Turan from the Flemish Socialist Party (SP.A), re-elected to the Flemish Parliament, has been appointed by her party as the Community Senator on 30 June 2014. Federal Parliamentarian Meyrem Almacı was elected as the leader of the Flemish Green (Groen) Party on 15 November 2014.

Moreover, in the last local elections on 14 October 2012, about 120 Belgians of Turkish origin were elected to provincial councils. Emir Kır was elected as the Mayor of Saint-Josse municipality, becoming the first Belgian of Turkish origin in this capacity. Emir Kır was also elected to the Federal Parliament from the Socialist Party (PS) in the Federal elections on 25 May 2014.

Bilateral trade volume was 5.7 billion Dollars in 2015 (exports: 2.6 billion Dollars, imports: 3.1 billion Dollars). Among the main export goods from Turkey to Belgium are transportation vehicles, textile products, metals, machines, vegetables and fruits. Among the main import goods from Belgium to Turkey are chemical and related industrial products, plastics, rubber and rubber products, machines, iron-steel, electrical devices and parts. During 2002-2015, direct investments from Belgium to Turkey have reached 8.17 billion Dollars. In the same period, direct investments from Turkey to Belgium have reached 311 million Dollars. As of 2014, around 500 Belgian companies are operating in Turkey.

In 2015, around 620 thousand Belgian tourists visited Turkey.