BANGLADESH- TURKEY RELATIONS




News Center –TDO- The friendship between Turkey and Bangladesh has been deepened with historical and cultural ties. Throughout the time this multidimensional relationship between the two countries has developed and widened for the interest of the people of these two countries. Recently these developed relations witnessed the political understanding and participation of bilateral and multilateral interest between Bangladesh and Turkey. The outstanding economical growth and achievements of Bangladesh created result-oriented opportunities for cooperation.

As a result, the Ambassador of Bangladesh Allama Siddiki with Bangladesh Chief Consul to İstanbul Mohammad Monirul İslam summoned a press conference in İstanbul Beyoğlu Municipality Building on January 30, 2018 to inform about the different dimensions of Bangladesh, especially about the latest developments after the Rohingya crisis and to deepen the ties of friendship between the two regions.

Bangladesh At A Glance

Independence is the greatest achievement of the Bangali nation, but it was not attained in a day. The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the undisputed leader declared the historic independence on 26 March 1971 after overcoming various ups and downs and staging long movement and legitimate campaign against the then Pakistani government. The ultimate victory was achieved through a nine-month long war of liberation under his leadership. Three million valiant freedom fighters made supreme sacrifice and two hundred thousand women lost their innocence for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence. The pain and agony suffered and sacrifices made by the people of Bangladesh are ever sacrosanct to the nation and their heroism forms the highest episode of our national pride.

The Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared ‘Vision 2021’ in line with the spirit of War of Independence and the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a Sonar Bangla’ (Golden Bengal) to achieve people’s socioeconomic emancipation and to build a poverty and hunger free prosperous country. Bangladesh is expected to attain the status of a middle-income country well before 2021. Now, the government is also working on transforming the country into a developed one by 2041.

Bangladesh has been acclaimed as a “role model”, after its successful achievement of MDGs. Now, Bangladesh is strongly committed to realize SDGs. 

Few Facts About Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the 8th largest country in terms of population with an increasingly younger population. About 100 million people is economically-active. The 2/3rd of the population will remain active till 2031. Thus, Bangladesh continues to enjoy "demographic dividend’’ for the coming decades.

Bangladesh's GDP now stands at US$686.59 bn in terms of PPP, making it the 32nd largest economy in the world in 2017 (IMF);

Bangladesh's GDP in terms of PPP is expected to cross $1,000 bn, making the country the 30th largest economy of the world in 2022 (IMF in April, 2017).

According to the ADB, Bangladesh’s economy grew by 7.1% in 2016, the fastest expansion in 30 years.

It was also the sixth year in a row that GDP growth was greater than 6%. Most analysts expect this run to continue.

Ratings firm Moody’s says Bangladesh’s growth is likely to remain “robust.”

Poverty reduced by 2% each year, since 2000.

Bangladesh foreign currency reserves $32 billion (2nd highest in South Asia-India over $ 350 billion, Pakistan $23 billion);

State intervention with resources generated through economic growth has positive impact on:

Reduction of gender gap

Reduction of population growth rate

Reduction of child and maternal mortality rate

Improved sanitation and standard of living

Enhanced access to education and health care

A burgeoning middle class etc.

Apart from Government intervention, contribution from an estimated 2,000 development NGOs, and a small group of them are among the largest such organizations in the world.

Financial and social inclusion has resulted in the strengthened ‘social cohesion’ in the Bangladeshi society.

Access to and penetration of digital connectivity: About 100 million people connected over mobile in last 5 years and over 30 million in 2 metropolises only. Over 20% population (30 million) using internet which is projected to be over 50% by 2020.

Bangladesh has been ranked 2nd in production of RMG, 8th in terms of footwear production in the world.

Again, globally, Bangladesh is the 4th in production of Rice, 4th is production of fresh water fish, 7th is production of potato, 9th in production of shrimp, 3rd in production of vegetables.  

Bangladesh has been recognized as one of the fastest growing economy in the world with 7.28% growth rate, USD 1610 of per capita income and more than 72 years of longevity.

Bangladesh has been ranked 34th in the World Economic Forum's Inclusive Development Index's (IDI) list (published in 2018) of emerging economies, ahead of South Asian competitors India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2018. On a scale of one to seven, Bangladesh scored 3.98 in the IDI, with one being the worst and seven the best. India scored 3.09, Pakistan 3.55, and Sri Lanka 3.79.  

In fact, the present Government’s inclusive, participatory, people-centric and liberal development programmes, Bangladesh has been able to unleash the people’s creativity in a much lauded way resulting in lifting millions out of poverty, ensuring better access to health and nutrition, bringing in gender parity in education, broadening the social safety net, expanding the middle income segment, dramatically reducing dependence on foreign assistance, enhancing investment from domestic as well as external sources.

This is a new and confident Bangladesh that you see today determined to take its rightful position in the international order under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh is now considered as one of the fastest growing developing countries and projected to continue its growth till 2050.

Bangladesh-Turkey Bilateral Relations

Diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Turkey was established after an official visit by the then President of Bangladesh to Turkey in 1976.

The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was greatly inspired by the Atatürk when he led the Bangali nation to statehood in 1971 through a devastating War of Independence.

The friendship between Bangladesh and Turkey is deeply rooted in their historic and cultural ties. Over time this multifaceted relationship has grown and expanded to the benefits of the peoples of two countries.  The recent time has witnessed an increase in the political understanding and engagement between Bangladesh and Turkey on various issues of mutual interests – both bilateral and multilateral. The phenomenal economic growth and achievements of Bangladesh has also opened up new vistas of opportunities for the two countries to collaborate in a result oriented manner. 

The visit of the President of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister of Turkey Mr. Binali Yıldırım in 2017, is no doubt indicative of the highest level political commitment of the leaders of two countries to work harder and to translate this political understanding into mutually beneficial actions. A number of instruments were signed to further deepen and widen our relations in the fields of trade, investment, customs, agriculture, health, culture, visa regime, etc., during those visits.

Bangladesh, as a close ally of Turkey – is proud of Turkey’s democratic and socio-economic achievements made during the last decade of the AKP government under the dynamic leadership of President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bilateral Trade:

Export to Turkey: $ 881.04 million (2016) (Turkish Statistical Institute);

Major Export Items: Woven Garments, Knitwear, Home Textile, Agro-products, Frozen Food, Leather and Leather Product, Footwear, Raw Jute, Jute Goods etc.

Import from Turkey: $263.96 million (2016) (Turkish Statistical Institute);

Major import items: Live animals and animals products, Vegetable products, Animal or vegetable fats and oils, prepared foodstuffs, Mineral products, Products of the chemical or allied industries, Plastic and rubber articles thereof, Raw hides and skins, leather, Textiles and Textiles articles, Machinery and mechanical appliances, arms & ammunitions etc.

Rohingya Muslim Issue:

Foreign policy of Bangladesh is being exercised in accordance with the principle "Friendship to all, malice to none" as adopted by the Father of the Nation. Last year, Bangladesh has set a unique example by providing shelter to millions of forcibly displaced nationals of Myanmar (Rohingyas) on humanitarian ground.

However, it is very difficult for Bangladesh to bear the burden of such a huge homeless people. Bangladesh believes in a peaceful solution to the problem. Bangladesh urges the UN and the international community, including Myanmar, to take immediate effective measures for the permanent settlement of this problem.

Bangladesh has repeatedly been bearing the brunt of the instability and conflict in the Rakhine State each time Muslim exodus ending up principally in Bangladesh. The October 2016 incidents  resulted in around 6,00,000 desperate and affected Myanmar citizens taking shelter into Bangladesh. Similar military operations in the past resulted Myanmar residents crossing over to Bangladesh in 1978 and in 1991-92. In addition, around 250,000 undocumented Myanmar Nationals are staying in Bangladesh for long. Now there is an estimated 1 million Rohingyas living in Bangladesh.

Denial of “citizenship” and basic rights, including political, civil, human and economic rights of the Muslim minority of Rakhine State is the root cause of problem. State policy of deprivation, discrimination, dispossession and disenfranchisement of an entire community for decades is responsible for the current situation in the Rakhine State.

Bangladesh welcomed the formation of the “Advisory Commission”, led by Kofi Anan. The report of the Kofi Annan Commission has created ground for domestic actions to arrest deterioration of the situation and continued marginalization of the Rohingyas. Bangladesh expects democratically elected Government of Myanmar to manifest necessary political will to address the root causes (statelessness of Rohingyas).

Repatriation of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (Rohingyas):

Bangladesh has always stressed for restoration of normalcy in the Rakhine State first and then comprehensive repatriation including both past and present cases of Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh. Myanmar should take necessary steps to create ambience of safety and security for sustainable and dignified return of people so that the repatriated people do not require thinking for leaving their home and country again.

An Arrangement has been signed with the Myanmar authorities for the repatriation of the Myanmar nationals. The Joint Working Committee formed under the agreed Arrangement after rounds of discussion following which a Modus Operandi for repatriation of Rohingyas has been agreed upon. Accordingly, the process is expected to start soon with 1500 going back each week initially. The momentum is expected to escalate with time completing return of about Eight Hundred Thousand in two years. But it always depends on the good will of Myanmar. And as such, active role of the international community would be critical to continue pressure on Myanmar so that it repatriates its nationals according to the Agreement. Besides the 3rd Committee of UN and Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted resolutions for immediate stop of atrocities and repatriation of their nationals which have been supported by overwhelming number of countries including Turkey.

Bangladesh appreciates Turkey’s proactive role and support in OIC to enhance the interests of the Muslim Ummah and their support to Bangladesh on Rohingya crisis. And thank the Turkish President for the visit of the Turkish First Lady Ms. Emine Erdoğan. and for taking all the trouble to go to the remote Rohingya camps and for assurance of Turkey to be by the side of Bangladesh during this crisis.