The Anatolian Heritage Federation (AHF) proudly announces its first Annual Turkic Canadian Convention a large annual gathering intended to bring together a wide range of stakeholders including Canadian parliamentary members, Senators, executive staff, governmental and parliamentary delegations from Turkic countries, representatives of the Turkic diaspora in Canada, business people from Turkic countries, academics, experts and many others. The aim of the convention is to contribute to the strengthening of the political, social and economic ties between Turkic countries and Canada. The convention will feature keynote addresses by top officials, interactive panel talks by national and international experts in their respective fields followed by a gala reception, providing networking opportunities with high-profile guests.
The convention was organized by the Anatolian Heritage Federation (AHF), the largest national Turkic organization in Canada representing over 24 community associations, cultural centres, business associations and educational institutions from coast to coast. AHF has been a powerful advocate for dialogue not only between the Turkic community of Canada and broader Canadian society, but also between Turkic countries and Canada. AHF strongly believes that this convention will be an important avenue to explore potential partnership opportunities and increase current political/economic cooperation amongst countries and societies.
“In the spring of next year, we expect the Canadian cabinet to pass the mandate that will allow the Canadian government to finally begin the official negotiation rounds for a comprehensive free trade agreement,” said Deputy Director General for European Union Affairs of the Ministry of Economy Veysel Parlak, when speaking to Today’s Zaman at the first Turkic Canadian Convention in Ottawa. Parlak’s directorate is responsible for the Turkey-EU customs union and Turkey’s FTA relationships.
According to Canadian law, the Canadian cabinet must issue a mandate in order for the Canadian International Trade Ministry to inaugurate formal trade negotiations with another country.
“After we manage to start the official negotiations, I don’t think it is going take more than two years to sign a comprehensive FTA with Canada, Parlak continued. He also touched upon the much-debated customs union agreement Turkey has with the EU, which has left Turkey in a disadvantageous position when it comes to international trade for the last several years.
Turkey became party to an exceptional customs union with the EU in 1996 for the free movement of goods. It is exceptional in that it exists between the EU and a non-member country. In situations where there is an FTA between the EU and a third country, the third country gains access to Turkish markets through the customs union, but Turkey cannot enjoy the same benefit of access to the market of the third country. Therefore, Turkey has been seeking separate FTAs with those countries that have already signed similar agreements with the EU.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in October. Because of the disadvantages that CETA will cause, Turkey is trying to arrange for a separate FTA with Canada.
Parlak also mentioned that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Economy Minister Zafer Cağlayan have been deeply concerned about the issues that the problematic EU customs union brings and they very much want to see a better, more fair agreement made between Turkey and the EU in the near future. “Since 1996, countries’ economic, political, and social structures have experienced great change. Today, not only Turkey, but the EU also feels the need to make revisions to the customs union agreement. Both parties, however, are waiting for the World Bank’s