The two countries maintain significant trade relations. Many high-level bilateral meetings have been held.
The Black Sea
Having inspired the idea of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization (11 members), created in June 1992 (BSEC), Turkey got the general secretariat to be set up in Istanbul. The Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank is located in Thessaloniki. Working groups have been created (communication, tourism, science and technology, energy, and transport, in particular) and agreements between naval forces have been reached to conduct environmental operations on a case-by-base basis (“Black Sea force”).
Turkey is developing its relations with the Turk-speaking republics. Since February 2005, it has commanded the ISAF in Afghanistan.
Two organizations facilitate and increase trade between Turkey and the countries in this region: the ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization), composed of ten Muslin countries (former Soviet Turk-speaking republics plus Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan), representing a region with 300M inhabitants, and the Summit of Turk-speaking countries, which brings together the Turk-speaking republics of the former USSR and Turkey (making it possible to develop a six-party cooperation). From a bilateral standpoint, Turkey is aiming to strengthen its trade.
Turkey’s commitment in this region is linked to a historic heritage and the presence of minorities of Turkish origin in the Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo). Kosovo’s Turkish community is still about 30,000 strong. Turkey is involved in KFOR (990 men) and UNMIK. Turkish Macedonians are the second-biggest minority in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, after the Albanians.
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