Relations between Turkey and France

France is an important trade and economic partner as well as one of the leading allies of Turkey, based on our long-standing relationship and hosting a Turkish community of more than 650 thousand.

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and France date back to 1483, when Sultan Bayezid II. sent an envoy of Greek origin from Limni island to Louis the XIth in order to get information about his brother Cem Sultan in France. Jean de la Forest, the first French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, took office in 1535. With the capitulations in 1535, France became the most privileged state at the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire appointed its first ambassador Yirmisekiz Mehmet Çelebi to France in 1721.

The Treaty of Ankara, signed on 20 October 1921, during the Turkish War of Independence, is the basis for Turkey-France bilateral relations.

French President Hollande’s state visit on 27-28 January 2014 was the first state visit from France to Turkey after 22 years. This historic visit confirmed the joint political will at the highest level to improve bilateral relations. President Hollande was accompanied by an extensive delegation of 7 ministers, parlamentarians and about 50 French businessmen. During the visit, 13 agreements/documents were signed in various areas such as energy, transportation, customs, agriculture and credit facilities. “The Joint Political Declaration on the Establishment of a Strategic Framework for Cooperation Between Turkey and France”, signed by the Foreign Ministers of both countries, has formed an institutional basis for bilateral relations. Within this context, during the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister to Paris on 10 October 2014, the two year (2014-2016) “Action Plan” was signed for the implementation of the Joint Declaration.

President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has paid a working visit to France on 31 October 2014, upon the invitation of President Hollande. President Erdoğan also attended the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) held in Paris on 30 November 2015.

The bilateral trade volume between Turkey and France was 13.4 billion Dollars in 2015 (exports: 5.8 billion Dollars, imports: 7.6 billion Dollars). France, having a 4.1% ratio in Turkey’s total exports and 3.7% ratio in Turkey’s total imports, has ranked sixth both among the most exported and imported countries in the world. Among the main export goods from Turkey to France are road vehicles, clothing and accessories, electrical machinery and devices. Among the main import goods from France to Turkey are planes and air vehicles, iron and steel products and automobile spare parts.

Currently 1.366 companies with French capital are operating in Turkey. France ranks 10th country in terms of number of foreign companies operating in Turkey. Between the period 2002-2015, French direct investments to Turkey have reached 6.759 billion Dollars. France ranks 10th in terms of foreign direct investments.

Based on the information from Turkish missions in France, there are 47 Turkish companies operating in France. These companies have investment stock worth 750 million Dollars. Turkish companies are concentrated mainly in the fields of energy, furniture and equipment, textile and clothing, transportation, electrical machinery and devices, finance, plastic products, storage, logistics, various services (restoration, repair and renovation), chemical goods (packaging), production of automobile spare parts, marketing of agricultural and food products, glass and ceramics.

There are about 650 thousand Turkish citizens living in France. Over 300 thousand of them also hold French citizenship. During the 23-30 March 2014 local elections in France, 200 French citizens of Turkish origin have been elected to provincial councils. 16 out of 200 were elected as deputy mayor and 184 as council members. Compared to the previous local election (103 Turks were elected), the number of successful French citizens of Turkish origin has significantly increased.

Based on the data of the Ministry of Interior, 3152 French citizens are living in Turkey. 508 of them are in Turkey for employment and 411 of them for educational purposes.

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