The Maldives is set to strengthen its economic and diplomatic relations with Türkiye as both nations engage in the initial round of discussions to formulate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This development was announced following a meeting held in the Maldives, marking a significant step towards enhancing bilateral trade and investment.

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed highlighted the proactive efforts of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu in initiating the free trade agreement talks with Türkiye. The negotiations aim to establish specific terms beneficial to both countries, reflecting the close relationship President Muizzu has fostered with Türkiye since his tenure began.

The negotiations are part of a broader effort by President Muizzu to enhance the Maldives’ global partnerships, as seen in his endorsement of Türkiye as a key ally. The acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Türkiye, part of a grant that underscores the strategic partnership between the two nations, is a testament to this new direction in foreign policy.

Türkiye’s support for the Maldives has been evident through various initiatives, including the donation of a surveillance drone to bolster maritime security, a one-year agreement for the importation of staple foods from Türkiye, and an increase in scholarship opportunities for Maldivian students. 

Plans are also underway to establish a Turkish embassy in the Maldives, following the opening of the Maldives’ first embassy in Türkiye during President Muizzu’s tenure.

Previously, the Maldives signed its first significant FTA with China in 2017, aimed at reducing tariffs and facilitating trade. Additional FTA negotiations underway include ones from previous governments, including the United Kingdom and Hong Kong- China. 

The country is a participant in regional trade agreements, including the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS), signed in 2006.