The textile industry of Turkey has a rich history dating back to the Ottoman Empire. As early as 16 century, the Turkish already had an advanced textile production industry. With the continuous growth and development of the genre, it has significantly contributed to the clothing industry.
Developments in the textile industry in Turkey
In the last two decades, Turkey’s textile industry has been steadily growing with the industry emerging as one of the leading sectors with a high share of the country’s economy and GDP. Till date, the total export value of the industry amounts to more than 24.5 billion dollars. Turkey participates in notable fairs that showcase the textile products and all that the industry has to offer.
Turkish textile production factors
Turkey has several advantages in textile production as well as the supply of raw materials based on the following points:
- The county is a rich source of the raw materials that are used for the production. Turkey ranks number 7 in global cotton production.
- In terms of logistics, the country has a strategic location as it is the gateway to European markets.
- With its liberal trade policies equipped with the highly skilled labour force, the country is able to have a well-developed industry that can produce quality products.
- The country has entered customs union agreement with EU and free trade agreements with other countries.
- Turkey is also noted for giving importance and priority to the working conditions of their labour force.
- Turkey continues to invest in utilising advanced technologies to grow their industry.
Export of Turkish textile
In 1990, the textile industry exported about 1.1 million dollars. By 2009, the total export value amounted to $13 million. Over the last 2 decades, the industry’s overall export value has significantly increased. The majority of the country’s textile productions are sold to EU countries. Germany has the highest market share at 21.6% followed by United Kingdom (13.9%), Spain (9%), France (6.4%), Holland (5.3%), Italy (4.5%) and countries including USA, Iraq, Belgium and Russian Federation all have 2%.
Competitiveness of the textile industry
Although the Turkish textile industry has been experiencing steady growth over the years, it is facing challenges as the country is now required to compete with China. It is beginning to lose its advantage due to China’s low labour cost.
To maintain its competitive edge, local producers have to create more creative and innovative designs that target high-income groups. The textile sector is also negatively affected by the decision of the EU to enter free trade agreements with South Korea and India.
In response to the increasing competition, the Turkish government aims to provide more assistance to its domestic producers by coming up with programs like the Turquality Programme which is specifically created to make domestic producers become more competitive.
Hence, labour and lack of innovative techniques, with some market research, show scope for foreign players to take part in the Turkish textile industry while factors such as a strategic location, ample raw material, and encouraging trade agreements support this.