TURKISH - CANADIAN RELATIONS
Canada is a friendly country that knows and appreciates the sensitivity
and importance of Turkeys geopolitical position and her relations with
the Western world, and has the same approach as Turkey on many
international issues. Turkish-Canadian relations which have always made
positive progress gained speed especially following visits made by the
Canadian side in 2002 and 2003 and the resulting agreements which were
signed. On the other hand, the Armenian Resolutions which were adopted
by the Canadian Federal Parliament have prevented the further
enhancement of our relations.
Establishment of Diplomatic Relations
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Canada goes
back to 1943. In June 1943, Turkey conveyed to Canada its desire to open
an Embassy in Ottawa, Canada responded favorably, and the first Turkish
Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Mehmet Ali Şevki Ilhan presented his
credentials on March 6, 1944. His counterpart, Major General Victor W.
Odlum, presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of
Turkey on November 26, 1947, becoming the first Canadian Ambassador to
Turkey. Following the opening of the Embassies, diplomatic relations
between Turkey and Canada developed harmoniously.
The Evolution of Bilateral Relations and International Cooperation
In the course of the Cold War years, political relations between Turkey
and Canada evolved mainly around military and security cooperation
within the North Atlantic Alliance. The two allies have also been
working side by side in pursuit of a more peaceful and stable world,
cooperating within the UN and the OSCE frameworks. In this vein, they
have taken part in various international peacekeeping operations. Canada
had also participated in the UNFICYP (UN Force in Cyprus) with sizeable
troops until 1993.
Since the establishment of the G-20 on 25 September 1999, the two
countries found a common forum where they could discuss issues of global
economy and finance in conjunction with the G-7 activities.
Inter-parliamentary Relations/Turkish-Canadian Friendship Group
The efforts towards establishing the Turkish-Canadian
Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group began in 1993. The Canadian side of
the said friendship group was initiated in June, 1996. Due to the
elections in Turkey in November 2002, the Turkish side of the friendship
group was renewed on March 8, 2003. The Canadian side of the group was
also established in November 2003 with 30 members from the Senate and
the House of Commons. However, in June 2004, after the general
elections, the composition of the Canadian Parliament has changed.
Maurice Vellacott was elected as the Chairman of the
Canadian side of the Turkish-Canadian Inter-Parliamentary Friendship
Group in October 2006.
Sinop Deputy Mr. Kadir
Tıngıroğlu was elected as the Chairman of the Turkish side on March 25,
Political Consultations/Joint Cooperation Committee
Turkish-Canadian political consultations were last held in Ankara on
November 29, 2002 between the Deputy Undersecretaries of the relative
Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The Framework Agreement signed in May,
2003, foresees that the Joint Cooperation Committee which will be
established will revive the political consultations mechanism.
The Turkish Community in Canada
It is estimated that the number of Turks in Canada has reached 50,000. A
large number of these Turkish citizens are university graduates and have
been integrated in the Canadian community. The first wave of migration
to Canada from Turkey occurred between 1956-1975. The total number of
associations for people with Turkish citizenship or of Turkish decent is
49. These associations are generally under
the umbrella of the Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations and the Federation of Turkish Cypriot Associations.
There are approximately 80-100 thousand people in the Armenian community
in Canada. The activities of the Armenian community against Turkey are
the only factor that causes tension in our bilateral relations. In fact,
the adoption of the So-called Armenian Genocide Resolution (M-380) by
the House of Commons on April 21, 2004, despite all our warnings and
efforts, opened the door to the beginning of a problematic period.
One of our Military Attaches died and one of our Trade Attaches was
seriously injured as a result of Armenian terrorism in Canada.
Furthermore, our Embassy has been stormed, during which our Ambassador
was injured and a Canadian employee was killed. Consequently, the
Canadian Government took precautions against Armenian terrorism.
Due to the support of Canada to baseless Armenian allegations regarding
the 1915 events, there has not been any high level visit between the two
countries for a long time. On the other hand, Canadian Deputy Foreign
Minister Ambassador Leonard J.
Edwards visited Turkey on 26-27 May 2008 for political consultations.
Last update: 2008