Brunei had an ally in Turkey long before the former had even acquired independence. Even today, that strong support can be felt in the diplomatic relations between the two entities. Haji Mohd Amin Liew Bin Abdullah, minister at the prime minister’s office in Brunei Darussalam, recently stated, “Brunei Darussalam and Türkiye obviously enjoy a good relationship, and we can make use of this through an exchange of ideas and experiences.”
Abdullah was in attendance at the 38th meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), held in Istanbul this year, when he made the above statement to Anadolu Agency.
Breaking down his thinking, the minister explained how several Turkish businesses are making sizeable investments in Brunei Darussalam. At the same time, he pointed out Brunei’s investments in the Turkish Stock Exchange.
The dynamic between the two countries seems to be one of mutual respect and support. “We are continuously enhancing this bilateral relationship (through) people-to-people exchange and… business to business exchanges,” Abdullah said.
The effects of this can be seen in the rapidly changing landscape of Brunei. Abdullah explained how COMCEC and similar platforms provide invaluable opportunities to Brunei and Turkey, including coming together and sharing experiences, holding trade fairs, and so on.
Turkish airlines are also investing in Brunei, paving the way for a bright future.
Other activities of Turkey include providing scholarships to students from Brunei. With the help of these scholarships, chosen few students will get the chance to go for higher education at Turkish universities. Turkey, too, will benefit from having top-tier Bruneian students grace their educational institutions.
In the year 2013, Turkey set up its embassy in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan, and in the following year, Brunei’s embassy opened in Ankara.
Ever since the early 1960s, Turkey has displayed active support for Brunei. Not only did it voice this support, but Turkey has also extended help in other forms. In 1984, the Declaration of Independence caused Brunei a great deal of stress, mainly stemming from external and internal security. It was at this time that Turkey leveraged its friendly relations with Malaysia and Indonesia to bring Brunei into the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). This proved to be of great help to Brunei, which was, at the time, facing tough times and needed this small gesture of support to rise once again.