Relations between Turkey and Ireland

The first known event in Turkish-Irish relations is the remanding of an Irish merchant ship which was captured by pirates while cruising the Mediterranean Sea by the Ottoman Navy in the 16th century.

Ireland suffered the Great Famine between 1845 and 1851 resulting in the loss of lives of around one million of the Irish population and causing another million to flee overseas. During the Famine, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecit provided 1.000 Pounds of financial aid to Ireland.

Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire sent ships carrying grain and food to the island. A common belief amongst the Irish people is that, the Ottoman ships departing Istanbul were not allowed to enter the Port of Dublin, and thus had to unload their cargo secretly at the Port of Drogheda, a town 70 km further north of Dublin. In remembrance of the aid, a plaque was unveiled on 2 May 1995 on the building which served as the City Hall of the period, on the occasion of celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the historical Town of Drogheda and in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Great Famine.

During the World War I, an Irish division under British command fought at the Dardanelles Front, where approximately 4.000 Irish soldiers lost their lives.

The first Turkish diplomatic representation accredited to Ireland started functioning on 11 December 1972, through an office attached to the Turkish Embassy in Paris. Subsequently, the Turkish Embassy in Dublin was opened on 10 December 1973, whereas the Irish Embassy in Ankara was opened in 1998.

Our bilateral relations gained a relative momentum during the 1990’s, when Ireland further opened out to the world and achieved massive economic development.

2010 proved to be a noteworthy year in Turkish-Irish bilateral relations. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu paid an official visit to Ireland on 10-11 March 2010. Minister Davutoğlu’s visit followed by the official visit of President McAleese to Turkey on 22-26 March 2010 including Istanbul and Çanakkale (Dardanelles), along with Ankara, which was the first official presidential visit by Ireland to Turkey. The official visit of Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış to Ireland between 16 and 18 November 2010 further increased the momentum achieved in bilateral relations. Furthermore, Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Castello visited Turkey along with a business delegation on 27-29 March 2012 and Minister of State for EU Affairs Lucinda Creighton paid a visit to Turkey on 9-10 July 2012.

The Irish Government expresses support to the accession of Turkey to the EU.

In 2011, Turkish-Irish bilateral trade volume reached 1,19 billion USD with a Irish surplus of 485 million USD. By the end of March 2012, 289 companies with Irish capital were active in Turkey. Ireland’s direct investment in Turkey reached 337 million USD in 2011. More than 1.800 Turkish citizens, 213 of whom have dual citizenship, live in Ireland. 118.620 Irish tourists visited Turkey in 2011.