Relations between Turkey and Thailand

Turkey established diplomatic relations with Thailand in 1958, opening its Embassy in Bangkok the same year. The Royal Thai Embassy in Ankara was opened in 1972.

Although there has not been a visit at the level of Heads of State between Turkey and Thailand so far, high level visits have been the driving force for further deepening bilateral relations.

Within the scope of a series of visits to the countries in the region, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, HE Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu paid an official visit to Thailand on 16-17 March 2015. The then Deputy Prime Minister Fihri Işık visited Thailand, accompanied by a delegation, in October 2017 to participate in the funeral rites of late King Bhumibol.

The most recent high level visit between Turkey and Thailand was the visit of HE Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, on 26-30 July 2019 to Thailand on the occasion of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Bangkok under Thailand's Term Presidency.

In this context, Minister Çavuşoğlu attended the Turkey-Thailand-ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partnership meeting and held a bilateral meeting with his Thai counterpart, HE Don Pramudwinai. Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu, on this occasion also visited Chiang Mai (26-27 July).

Turkey and Thailand marked 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2018, on the occasion of which the then Minister of Culture of Thailand visited Turkey and the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture of Turkey at the time visited Thailand.

The then Minister of Commerce of Thailand visited Turkey on the occasion of the launch of the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) l in 2017.

In taking economic and commercial relations further, reciprocal Business Councils of the two countries and the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) between Turkey and Thailand have also convened numerous times.

The main agreements that constitute the legal basis of bilateral relations are; the Trade Agreement (1987), the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (1989), the Agreement on Prevention of Double Taxation (2002) and the Agreement on the Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investments (2005).

Furthermore, negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were begun in 2017. These negotiations are ongoing with a view to concluding the FTA at the earliest opportunity.

The Civil Aviation Agreement between Turkey and Thailand was signed in 1987 and the negotiations on the Maritime Cooperation Agreement are underway. The Istanbul-Bangkok route is one of the busiest routes of the Turkish Airlines (THY), with 21 flights per week in the high season. THY also flies to Phuket since 17 July 2017, starting first at the rate of four times a week and then increased to seven days a week. Turkish Airlines temporarily suspended its commercial flights to Thailand on 23 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thailand has banned international inbound commercial flights until May, 31 2020 subject to an extension depending on pandemic conditions.

In September 2018, Declaration of Intent was signed between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey and the Ministry of Culture of Thailand on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between Turkey and Thailand.

A renewed Civil Aviation Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey in September 2018.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2018 for bilateral cooperation between TÜBİTAK of Turkey and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand, has increased mutual cooperation in the area of scientific research and multilevel cooperation.

The Memorandum of Understanding regarding the cooperation between SMEs was also signed between KOSGEB (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization) and its Thai counterpart OSMEP.

Most recently, “Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Tourism between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Kingdom of Thailand” entered into force in December 2019.

Since 1992, Turkey has provided around 400 higher education scholarships for Thai students under the Turkey Scholarships program. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Turkey has provided 37 scholarships to Thai students.

Some 2000 Turkish citizens are registered in the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Bangkok. Around 800 Thai citizens are resident in Turkey.