The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization is 32 years old!


Lerato Khumalo

The Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), which stands out as a regional economic cooperation organization, was established with the declaration published at the Istanbul Summit held on 25 June 1992 under the leadership of Turkey. The “Permanent Secretariat” of the organization, which was put into service in 1994, is located in Istanbul.

Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and Greece are members of BSEC.

Standing out as the “most comprehensive regional cooperation platform” in the Black Sea basin with a total of 13 member countries, BSEC acts with the mission of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the Black Sea Region and promoting friendly and good neighborly relations as its main founding objectives.

BSEC members aim to diversify and develop bilateral and multilateral economic, technological and social relations by using their potential, geographical proximity and economic characteristics, aiming to make the Black Sea a region of peace, stability and prosperity. In this context, economic cooperation comes to the fore as the basic method.

While the term presidency of the organization changed hands every 6 months, Türkiye assumed the term presidency in the second half of 2023. At the BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting held online on December 15, 2023, it was announced that the task in question would be transferred to Albania.


In the BSEC, which has the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as the sole decision-making body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which operates in various fields, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the International Black Sea Studies Center and the BSEC Business Council, serve as affiliated organizations of the organization.

Within the organization, there are many working groups as auxiliary bodies on various issues, especially in areas such as trade, economy, transportation, energy, communications, science and technology.

Different countries and institutions also participate in the meetings of the BSEC, which has a working method that is open to the outside world as well as establishing economic cooperation in the region.

BSEC Secretary General Ambassador Lazar Comanescu, in his assessment to AA correspondent at Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) regarding the effects of Russia-Ukraine War on the organization, said, “The truth is that for more than half a year in 2022, it is understandable that our organization will be inclined to postpone many of its activities in practice. However, thanks to the constructive attitudes of the member states, we were able to restart the organization’s activities. Now we have almost completely returned to our activities.”


In his evaluation of the BSEC, TOBB ETÜ Faculty Member Associate Professor Ali Oğuz Diriöz underlined that the organization is a “meaningful initiative” and emphasized that it prioritizes the “win-win” relationship.

Referring to the importance of having different units in the BSEC, Diriöz also pointed out that the organization has an institutional identity that can develop cooperation mechanisms in terms of political issues in the future.

Diriöz noted that Turkey may want to use the BSEC more actively in the commercial sense and said, “The Russia-Ukraine War largely renders the BSEC mechanisms ineffective, but in the future, after the ceasefire, the BSEC, especially NATO, will also benefit from economic confidence-increasing mechanisms such as environment, trade and logistics.” “It may be a suitable platform for establishing new joint mechanisms in terms of the economic importance of the Black Sea for its member countries such as Turkey, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.” he said.