Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)

Date of Establishment: 1985

Headquarter: Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran

Secretary-General: Khusrav Noziri (Tajikistan)

Member States: Türkiye, Iran and Pakistan (Founding Members), Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan

Objectives of the Organization: Contributing to the development of the Member States, removal of trade barriers within the ECO region, and developing intra-regional trade and promoting the ECO region’s integration with global markets, strengthening cultural and historical ties among the Member States.

History: The ECO was established in 1985 on the legal basis of the Regional Cooperation for Development, which was established in 1964 to develop regional economic cooperation by Türkiye, Iran and Pakistan.

With the participation of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in 1992, the ECO turned into a regional economic organization that covers a population of approximately 500 million on a total area of 8 million km2.

Organizational Structure

Summit: The ECO of Heads of State/Government Summits are normally held every two years. Türkiye hosted the 2nd ECO Summit in 1993, the 7th ECO Summit in 2002, the 10th ECO Summit in 2010 and 14th ECO Summit in 2021. 15th ECO Summit was held on 28 November 2021 in Ashgabat.

The Council of Ministers: As the highest decision-making body of the ECO, the Council convenes once a year at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

The Regional Planning Council: Convenes at least once a year with the participation of heads of national planning agencies of the Member States and reviews the cooperation projects and activities on the ECO agenda and prepares the calendar of work of the Organization.

The Council of Permanent Representatives: Convenes once a month and is composed of Ambassadors in Tehran of the Member States and the Director General for the ECO Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.

The Secretariat: Located in Tehran. Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Bıçaklı currently serves as one of the Deputy Secretary Generals.

Relations of Türkiye with the Organization: Türkiye is one of the three founding members of the ECO along with Iran and Pakistan. The ECO is also an important platform bringing Türkiye together with the Central Asian Republics and the South Asian countries. The competent Turkish institutions actively participate in the work of the Organization in their respective areas. Türkiye also hosts various meetings of the ECO.

Türkiye handed over ECO Chairmanship (2019-2021) to Turkmenistan at the 15th ECO Summit that was held on 28 November 2021 in Ashgabat.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the 15th Economic Cooperation Organization Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.