Economic relations between Estonia and Turkey are good and marked by stable development. Business people in Estonia are interested in the opportunities offered by Turkey’s size, geographical position and lively economic environment. Turkish business people have discovered Estonia’s innovative economic environment, IT capabilities and favourable conditions for establishing start-ups.
Estonia’s e-residency programme is popular in Turkey: by August 2020, 2622 persons have applied for e-residency, which mkes Turkey 12-th biggest country in the programme. Turkey is the fourth country in the world by number of companies established by e-residents – 712.
Trade between the two countries grew significantly after Estonia joined the European Union: exports to Turkey increased five-fold from 2004-2008. Trade was impacted by the global financial crisis in 2009, when both export and import volumes decreased substantially. However, trade grew again from 2010-2013. Estonia’s trade with Turkey has maintained a positive balance since 2004.
In 2019 Turkey was Estonia’s 18th biggest trading partner overall, with almost 232,6 million euros in turnover (a 1% share of all trade of Estonian trade). Turkey was also 18th biggest Estonian export partner, Estonia exported amounted 146 million euros. In 2019 import from Turkey to Estonia amounted 86,6 million euros, 16,2% rise comparatively with the year of 2018. In 2019 Turkey was 24th Estonian import partner.
It was ranked 16th among Estonia’s export partners and 22nd among its import partners.
Trade in goods between Estonia and Turkey 2012-2019 (million euros)
|Year||Exports||Share %||Imports||Share %|
Exports to Turkey
Having decreased slightly in 2015, Estonian exports grew by more than 20% in 2016. Further growth (+44%) continued in 2017, when the export volume reached almost 172 million euros. This growth in exports was led primarily by two goods groups: metals and metal products; and machinery and equipment. In 2019 the primary export items are ferrous waste and scrap,which represented 55.2% Estonian export to Turkey, followed by gold, which account for 8,6%.
The main export to Turkey is metals and metal products, forming 73% of all exports to the country in 2017. The primary export items are scrap and residue from cast iron and steel and unwrought lead. Ranked second among export items are machinery and equipment (transformers and inductors) at 11%. Also exported are precious metals (scrap and residue, as well as gold, 7%), chemical products (3%) and animal products (live cattle, 2%).
Imports from Turkey
The increase in imports in 2016 and 2017 was due to the Port of Tallinn purchasing passenger ferries, as a result of which the main import items were means of transport (43% of all imports). In addition to the ferries, traditional Turkish export items to Estonia are motor vehicles and their parts. Textile products are also important export items for Estonia. Most recently, import is led by synthetic staple fibres, not carded or combed, which represent 7,19% of the total import from Turkey, followed by small iron and closed steel pipes, which account for 7%.
According to the data of the Bank of Estonia, a total of 8.2 million euros had been directly invested in Estonia from Turkey by the end of 2017, representing annual growth of 0.4 million euros. These investments were made in a variety of sectors: water supply and sewerage; wholesale and retail trade; transportation and warehousing; accommodation and catering; information and communications; financial and insurance-related activities; real estate; professional, scientific and technological activities; administrative and support services; and education. According to the data of the Commercial Register, 89 companies with Turkish involvement had been registered in Estonia by May 2017.
In 2018 the Gaziantep-based company Akinal Sentetik Tekstil was awarded the title of Most Outstanding Foreign Investor in Estonia. The company established Aston Synthetics OÜ, a firm with 40 employees that produces synthetic fabric, in Nehatu Industrial Park.
By the end of March 2020, Estonian direct investments in Turkey amounted to 3.2 million euros. Investments were made in wholesale and retail trade; the information and communications sector; and real estate.
In 2014 and 2015 an average of 6500 Turkish tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in Estonia. Interest in the country grew slightly in 2016, with almost 7000 staying here during the year. The same figure increased again in 2017, reaching 7500. Apart from Tallinn, popular destinations were Tartu, Pärnu and Ida-Viru counties.
Estonian Universities are popular amogn Turkish students: in Estonian higher education institutions study around 200 Turkish students, which is one of the biggest groups among Estonian foreign students.
Turkish Airlines, the country’s national carrier, launched direct flights between Tallinn and Istanbul on 11 June 2013.