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Turkey-Sri Lanka Political Relations

The relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey could be traced back to many centuries.  May be the foundation for this beautiful relationship was conceived given the fact that Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon at that time, was a pivotal port-of-call in the Silk Route whereas the Ottomans were using it for their trading activities. 

 It is said that in 1864, the Ottoman imperial authorities appointed HassenLebbeMarikkar as Honorary Consul for Turkey in Sri Lanka.

 This is further seconded in the book titled the "Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon" which was published in 1907. 

      It states;

“The number of foreign consuls established at Colombo is evidence of its importance as a shipping centre and port of call.

All the important powers have representatives there, whilst in addition, the USA, Austria-Hungary and Turkey have Consulates in Galle'. "

Therefore, we can proudly say that Sri Lanka and Turkey are enjoying a long lasting friendship.

Subsequent to Sri Lanka’s 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.

Even though, both countries are geographically distanced, it did not prevent the cooperation in many areas.  Turkey stood by Sri Lanka at its difficult times.  Turkey built, as a Tsunami relief, a complete village consisting of 450 houses in Southern Sri Lanka. Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) constructed 100 houses in Northern Sri Lanka for those displaced due to the conflict in the country. Turkey was one of the first countries to rush to provide assistance during the recent devastating floods in Sri Lanka. 

Since the beginning of 2016, Sri Lanka and Turkey have shown their utmost interest to elevate the existing friendly relations to a new height. In this context, the Prime Ministers of both countries met and held discussions on the side lines of the World Economic forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2016.  Subsequently, in February 2016 the special envoy of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka – Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group visited Turkey, met and held discussions with a number of dignitaries and institutions, stressing the importance of enhancing relations in several important sectors. Turkey also established Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association early this year.