Sri Lanka-Turkey Political Relations
Sri Lanka and Turkey relations have a deep history dating back to the 19th century and currently enjoy extremely friendly brotherly relations and continue to flourish and strengthen to the benefit of peoples of the two countries. Though there is hardly any substantial documented evidence some historians through some historical traces suggested that there were exchanges even during Selcuk Turks due to spice, Cinnamon trade and religious reasons. During Ottoman Sultan, Abdul Hamid II, perhaps in 1864, established an Honorary Consulate in Galle, Sri Lanka. Further the imperial ship (Ertugrul) while voyage to Japan, was docked for logistical requirement in Colombo on November 1, 1889. Turkey one of the first country to recognize and established formal diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka after Sri Lanka’s independence on 4th February 1948. Ever since, political, economic, cultural, technological bilateral relations by and large people to people to contacts between the peoples of the two countries magnified in many fold. While Sri Lanka celebrates 73rd Anniversary of the Independence this year, Sri Lanka and Turkey reaches milestone of 73 years of establishment of diplomatic relations. Sri Lankans always admire friendship of Turkey as a true friend and Turkey stood by Sri Lankans when in trouble and difficulties. President His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when he was Prime Minister in 2005 visited Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in 2004 to show the solidarity to Sri Lankan people affected by Tsunami and gifted a housing settlement in “Midigama”, South of Sri Lanka for the families affected by Tsunami which Sri Lankans up to date pay gratitude to the government of Turkey and President Erdogan. Sri Lanka also gratefulness for medical donations dispatched to Sri Lanka recently for the use of government of Sri Lanka’s effort to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The State visit to Turkey by then President H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2008 and official visit of Hon. Mevlut Cavusagolu, Foreign Minister of Turkey to Sri Lanka further strengthened the bond between the two countries. Visionary leadership of His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the 7th Executive President of Sri Lanka through his national policy framework, “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” leading Sri Lanka to achieve desirable goals to make Sri Lanka a prosperous, peaceful and develop country in the region. Friendship between His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa and His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the determination of the two leaders will enhance cooperation in a diverse array of fields and prosper longstanding brotherly relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey.
After regaining of independence in 1948, the formal diplomatic relation between the two countries was established. The Turkish Mission in New Delhi was concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka while the Sri Lankan Mission in Cairo was concurrently accredited to Turkey. However, when Sri Lanka opened its resident Mission in Tel- Aviv, the relations with Turkey was handled through that Mission until year 2012 when Sri Lanka opened its resident Mission in Ankara. Following year that was in 2013 Turkey opened its resident Mission in Colombo.
High Level Visits
1. Former Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa visited Turkey in 1986 .The visit has been the first highest level visit to Turkey from Sri Lanka.
2. Immediately after the tsunami disaster in 2005 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Sri Lanka bringing aid for the tsunami victims and promised continued assistance towards rebuilding the lives of affected people during talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was then Prime Minister on 10 February 2005. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the Chief Guest at ceremony held at Midigama in Weligama to mark the commencement of construction of a brand new Model Township in aid of Matara city Renewal Action Programme (McRAP). This is the first ever visit of a Turkish Prime Minister to Sri Lanka.
3. Former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mehmet Ali Sahin visied Sri Lanka an Opened the 450-house Turkish Village of Midigama Housing in the Matara District for the benefit of families who were victims of the December 2004 tsunami on 23 December 2006.
4. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Turkey on a four-day official visit on the invitation of Turkish President Abdullah Gul in 2008 when he was President of Sri Lanka. The visit paid by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka in 2008, has been the first Presidential visit from Sri Lanka to Turkey.
5. Hon. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, paid an official visit to Sri Lanka on 14-15 June 2016 on an invitation extended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera. This was the first official visit by a Turkish Foreign Minister to Sri Lanka.
Agreement/MoUs in Force Between Both Countries
1. Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Republic of Turkey.
2. Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Republic of Turkey.
3. Treaty on Extradition between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Turkey.
4. MoU for Cooperation between the center for Strategic Research of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Study of the Ministry External Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
5. MoU between the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) of the Republic of Turkey.
6. MoU for Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey on Diplomatic Training, Exchange of Information and Documentation.
7. Twinning Agreement between Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the city of Gaziantep of Turkey.
8. Agreement on Trade between Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Republic of Turkey.