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Bangladesh–Turkey relations


Bangladesh–Turkey relations

Bangladesh-Turkey relations



Bangladesh–Turkey relations refers to the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Turkey.


  • Early History 1
  • Cultural ties and history 2
  • High level state visits 3
  • Trade and investment 4
  • Defense cooperation 5
  • References 6

Early History

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 War of Independence. 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 War of Independence is still remembered with gratitude by the Turkish people. Finally, the second busiest airport of Bangladesh, formerly known as "Sylhet Airport" was renamed as Shahjalal International Airport to honor Hazrat Shah Jalal, one of the students of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi in Konya.[1]

After the independence of Bangladesh, 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 Dhaka was opened in 1976 and the Embassy of Bangladesh in Ankara in 1981.[1]

Cultural ties and history

The Turkish blockbuster movie Fetih 1453 was released in the Bangladeshi cinema "Star Cineplex" on 3 March 2013. A Turkish food festival was held at Radisson Blu Water Garden in Dhaka in 2014. Bangladesh and turkey have various culture similarities and influences like Greek and Persian heritage. In 1203 AD, the first Muslim ruler, Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Turk, captured Nadia and established Muslim rule. Moreover Turks are known for long influencing Sufism in Bangladesh which bought [2] Also Ottoman Empire used Chittagong port for its use in.

The people of Turkey and Bangladesh seem quite oblivious to the fact that Islam can co-exist in the public sphere as long as it is not used as a political weapon. What started out in Turkey as a protest against a proposed development project at Gezi Park soon escalated and turned towards blaming the Islamist government for hijacking Turkey’s secular identity. What began in Bangladesh as the trial of the war criminals soon turned ‘secularism’ with the progressive sides of Bangladesh. While the political situations in both countries may seem politically unconnected, at the bottom of these two scenarios lies an intense desire to contain Islamists and thereby to gain "modern" credentials by reorienting Islam according to an essentially western perspective.[3]

Sufism, mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of humanity and of God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world.[4]

The syncretistic attempts of the Mughal emperor Akbar (died 1605) to combine different forms of belief and practice, and the religious discussions of the crown prince Dārā Shukōh (executed for heresy, 1659) were objectionable to the orthodox. Typically, the counter movement was again undertaken by a mystical order from Turkish heritage.[4]

Sufism is practiced and spread across Sufism#South Asia by begalis like Ahmed Ullah Maizbhanderi (1826–1906) and Saheb Qiblah Fultali (1913–2008) before the independence of Bangladesh.[5]

High level state visits

Former Bangladeshi president Ziaur Rahman became the first Bangladeshi head of state to visit Ankara. In 1986, the then Turkish prime minister, Turgut Ozal paid a visit to Bangladesh.[6] Turkish President Suleyman Demirel joined Nelson Mandela and Yasser Arafat at the silver jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh's independence in 1997. In 1998, the two countries co-founded the Developing 8 Countries group. Turkish president Abdullah Gul paid an official visit to Dhaka in 2010.[7] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Dhaka in 2010.[8][9] Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to Ankara in 2012.[10]

Trade and investment

Bangladesh and Turkey are among each others' key trading partners. The bilateral trade between the two countries is worth more than $1 billion.[11] Bangladeshi export items to Turkey have been dominated by apparel products. Since 2012, Bangladesh and Turkey have been in talks to sign a free trade agreement,[12] but signing of the agreement is halted due to the complications relating to Turkey's bid for accession to the European Union.[13][14] The shipbuilding industry of Bangladesh has also been identified as a potential sector for Turkish investment.[15]

Bangladesh and Turkey have signed a joint protocol on trade and investment in 2012. The Bangladesh-Turkey Joint Economic Commission has been holding biennial meetings to discuss the ways for increasing bilateral trade and investment.[16]

Business people and representatives of Bangladesh and Turkey at a meeting have expressed their keenness to harness the business potentials between the two countries and hoped that the trade could reach a $10b mark with sincere efforts.[17]

Defense cooperation

In 2013, Turkey supplied Otokar Cobra light armored vehicles to the Bangladesh Army.[18] Bangladesh signed an agreement with Turkey on Military training, education and joint cooperation between forces of both nations on 10 March 1981 at Dhaka. As per agreement Turkey's Naval special forces trained Bangladesh Navy's special forces Special Warfare Diving and Salvage.[19]


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