Relations Between Turkey and Malaysia , 7.2.2019
Turkey’s formal diplomatic relations with Malaysia date back to 1964. Turkey and Malaysia enjoy a broad-based partnership in terms of their close bilateral relations. The cooperation has been deepening in all fields between the two countries.Several significant developments took place especially in 2014 when the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Malaysia was celebrated. In January 2014, then Prime Minister H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid an official visit to Malaysia. On this occasion, the joint declaration signed by the two Prime Ministers elevated the bilateral cooperation to a “strategic” level. The “Strategic Partnership” recognizes the progress made since the establishment diplomatic ties and the depth of political, economic and cultural ties between Turkey and Malaysia.
This momentum in bilateral cooperation was maintained with the official visit of H.E. Dato' Sri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, to Turkey in April 2014. During the visit, Turkey and Malaysia concluded the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into force in August 2015 and is the first FTA Turkey implemented with an ASEAN member. Currently, negotiations between two countries regarding the expansion of the scope of the FTA including investment, service and e-commerce continue.
Relations between Turkey and Malaysia have been strengthening with the increasing number of high-level reciprocal visits. On 4-6 August 2015, upon Malaysia’s invitation, Turkish Foreign Minister participated in the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and Post Ministerial Conferences held in Kuala Lumpur. Similarly, under the 2015 G20 Presidency of Turkey, Malaysia was invited, as ASEAN chair, to the G-20 meetings. Former Prime Minister Dato Sri’ Najib participated in the G-20 Summit held in Antalya on 15-16 November 2015 and was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the margins of the Summit. Former Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib also attended the 13th Islamic Summit Conference of the OIC on 14-15 April 2016 in İstanbul as well as the OIC Extraordinary Summit held in İstanbul on 13 December 2017.
Turkey and Malaysia also share common perspective on a broad range of regional and global issues as members of the United Nations, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation. The two countries support their mutual efforts in different platforms such as G-20 and ASEAN as well. On the sidelines of ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey and Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Foreign Minister of Malaysia had a bilateral meeting on 3 August 2018. Similarly, Dato’ Marzuki Yahya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia participated in the 18th meeting of the D-8 Council of Ministers. Following the said meeting, Deputy Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Malaysia had a bilateral meeting in Ankara on 5 November 2018.
Dato' Mohd Rashid Hasnon, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Malaysia attended the 2nd Conference of the League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds which was held in İstanbul on 14-15 December 2018.
Lastly, Mohamad bin Sabu, Minister of Defense of Malaysia, paid a visit to Turkey on 14-21 December 2018 with a delegation including Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, Chief of General Staff, and Zulkifli bin Abu Bakar, Director General of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Economic and Trade Relations:
Economic and trade relations between Turkey and Malaysia had gained momentum especially during 2000s. The strategic investment fund of Malaysia, Khazanah, and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) have offices in İstanbul. Trade data for the recent years is presented below (reference:TÜİK).
Export (thousand USD)
Export Value %
Import (thousand USD)
Import Value %
Trade Volume (thousand USD)
Trade Balance (thousand USD)
Relations in the Field of Culture, Tourism and Education:
The two countries enjoy good relations in social and cultural fields as well. Both Governments support the efforts for intensifying people to people contacts. Daily direct flights between İstanbul and Kuala Lumpur by Turkish Airlines play crucial role towards this end.
In 2018, the number of Turkish citizens registered as residents in Malaysia was around 600. About 80 Turkish students are educated at Malaysian universities. The number of Malaysian students in our country is also increasing. Under Türkiye Scholarships, Turkey has provided 27 scholarships to Malaysian students during the 2017-2018 academic year.
A Cultural Agreement was concluded between Turkey and Malaysia on 13 February 1977. Sister city relationships have been established between Ankara and Kuala Lumpur, and, İstanbul and Johor Bahru.
Our “Culture and Information Office” in Kuala Lumpur and “Tourism Malaysia Office” in İstanbul are working to develop cultural relations between the two countries. Furthermore, various activities are carried out by Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre, which became operational in 2017.
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