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Bangladesh, Turkey Sign Security Deal

Bangladesh and Turkey signed a deal on security related issues. On 9 January 2022, the deal encompasses security cooperation, and counterterrorism mitigatory efforts. The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on tackling drug trafficking. 

The MoUs were signed when Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was visiting Dhaka last week. 

Describing the deals, Bangladeshi Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, “We talked about training, intelligence sharing and ways to fight cybercrime. Also, following the signing of the agreement, the Turkish interior minister said they will extend their cooperation with us.”

According to the minister the Bangladesh Police, Border Guard, Coast Guard, Ansar and VDP will collaborate with Ankara. The minister also added that, “We had sought Turkish support to better equip our police, Border Guard, Coast Guard and Ansar. The country has agreed to support us whenever we need it.”

Apart from this understanding, Turkey extended support on the issue of Rohingyas and their hosts in Bangladesh. 

According to the Minister, Turkey has been supporting Rohingyas in many ways. The minister also said that a Turkish team will visit Bhasan Char. Bhasan Char is an island where Rohingyas are staying in shelters. The visiting team would assess how they can help Bangladeshi officials to host Rohingyas.

The visiting Turkish minister reopened the Turkish field hospital which was gutted in a fire in 2021. The hospital was reconstructed with the help of Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. Bangladesh is hosting about 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazaar and Bhasan Char. 

Turkey and Bangladesh bilateral ties have undergone its ups and down over the decades. In recent years, the two countries have made efforts to collaborate in the security and defence domain. Dhaka is the fourth largest buyer of weapons from Turkey. Last year, Bangladesh bought about $ 60 million worth of weapons from Turkey. This has made Bangladesh an important destination for the Turkish leadership, especially for the Asian region.

In 2019, Turkey launched what is called as Asia Anew Initiative (ANI), with an aim to diversify ties with Asian countries. 

The two countries share the same experience due to porous borders and rampant drug smuggling.

Collaboration at the defence level helps Turkey economically, which is going through an unstable phase. For Dhaka, it means diversifying its dependence for weapons procurement. Under the Force Goal 2030, Dhaka aims to modernize its forces and diversify its reliance on a handful of countries for its weapon needs.