Relations between Turkey and Switzerland, 30.5.2017
Bilateral diplomatic relations with Switzerland began in 1898 with the opening of a Consulate in Geneva and in 1900, when the Ottoman Empire accredited its Minister in Brussels to the Swiss Confederation. As of 1915, the Ottoman Empire had appointed a Minister to Switzerland with residence in Bern. During the transition period dating to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, diplomatic relations with Switzerland continued. On 1 November 1922, the Turkish mission in Bern was attached to the transition government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. After the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish Legation in Bern was managed on the level of a Chargé d’Affaires.
In 1925, Mehmet Münir Ertegün, as the first Envoy of the Republic of Turkey, presented his letter of credentials to the President of the Swiss Confederation. The same year, an “Agreement of Friendship” between the Republic of Turkey and Switzerland was signed. At the end of 1953, Turkish mission became an Embassy (Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, who had served with the title of Envoy between 1942 and 1949, was Turkey’s first representative with the title of “Ambassador to Switzerland” during his second post between 1952 and 1954). Switzerland, on the other hand, opened its first diplomatic mission in Istanbul in 1928. The Swiss mission in Istanbul was moved to Ankara in 1934 and became an Embassy in 1957.
Relations between Switzerland and the Republic of Turkey are close and diverse, and are characterized by regular high-level political dialogue as well as extensive economic and trade ties.
In line with recent reciprocal high-level visits, bilateral relations between Turkey and Switzerland developed positively with a number of milestones, one of which was former President Pascal Couchepin’s visit to Turkey in November 2008. Two years later, in November 2010, 11th President Abdullah Gül became the first Turkish President to have paid official visit to Switzerland. In this period, Switzerland played the role of facilitator in the process of establishing diplomatic relations and the development of bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia. Ahmet Davutoğlu,then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey visited Switzerland on 10 October 2013. Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs participated in the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs paid an official visit to Switzerland upon the invitation of his counterpart, on 2-3 November 2016. Furthermore, Minister Çavuşoğlu paid a working visit to Bern on 23 March 2017.
In the meantime, the substantial development and the continuous progress of commercial and economic bilateral relations between Turkey and Switzerland has been witnessed. In 2016, the volume of trade between the two countries has reached USD 5,27 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI). (Exports of Turkey: USD 2,67 billion, Imports of Turkey: USD2,5 billion).
The volume of Swiss investment in Turkey for the period of 2002-February 2017 totals USD 2.469 billion. As of 2017, more than 800 companies from Switzerland are present in Turkey.
The Turkish community in Switzerland, with its approximately 130.000 members, constitutes another key element in the relations between Turkey and Switzerland. The foundations and the organizations established by Turkish community in Switzerland are mainly in the fields of culture, sports and religion.