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Turkey Textile and Apparel News

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Textiles and clothing industry in Turkey – Statistics & Facts

Turkey also remains among one of the world’s most important textile and apparel manufacturing countries and 6th largest supplier in the world and the 3rd largest supplier to the EU.

With a long history of textile manufacturing dating back to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey remains an important country in the global textile and apparel industry. In 2017, the country ranked as the fifth largest exporter of textiles worldwide, accounting for almost four percent of all exports. The industry is also still showing signs of growth, with the value of both textiles and clothing exported having more than doubled since 2000. A large proportion of the textile and apparel goods leaving Turkey arrive in locations inside Europe, with Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy ranking as the top four destinations. In 2016, these four countries together accounted for over 10 billion dollars’ worth of exports.

The Republic of Turkey, stretching from southeastern Europe across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia, has a textile manufacturing history dating back to the Ottoman Empire.

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DOMOTEX Turkey 2019

Turkish apparel industry at a glance

Today, Turkey also remains among one of the world’s most important textile and apparel manufacturing countries. After vehicles, clothing is Turkeys’ most successful export product, which earned 9.4% of the country’s total exports, of them knitwear amounted to US$ 8.8bn (5.6% of total export), while exports of woven clothing reached US$6.0bn (3.8% of the total) in 2017.

Exports of both the Turkish textile and clothing industries achieved a modest growth in 2017, rising 2.5% and 3.0% respectively. Industry leaders have predicted that 2018 will be better. Last year, textile exports amounted to around US$10bn and clothing exports to around US$ 17bn.

Chairmen of the Istanbul Apparel Exporter’s Association, forecasts an 8-10% increase in clothing exports in 2018.

According to World Trade Organization (WTO) data 2016, Turkish clothing industry with a share of 3.39% is the 6th largest supplier in the world and the 3rd largest supplier to the EU. It has a share of 4.06% in knitted and a share of 2.73% in woven clothing exports in the world.

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Egypt textile industry - Turkish textile-garment

Strengths of the Turkish textile and apparel industry

Turkish textile and clothing industry has a significant role in world trade with the capability to meet high standards and can compete in international markets in terms of high quality and a broad range of products. Turkey exports not only readymade garments; it also exports fabrics to the world. European countries, including Italy, Russia, Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria etc. are the most important markets for Turkey’s fabric exports.

In 36 years from 1980 to 2018, the production and export of the industry shifted from low value-added commodities to high value-added manufactured items and fashionable goods. Major strengths of the Turkish textile and apparel industry are:

qualified and educated human resources,
design capacity,
accumulation of know-how,
investment in technology,
dynamic and flexible production capacity,
advanced sub-industry in the clothing sector,
concern about quality, health, and environment.
Apparel export trends

For the last two years, the industry has been stable despite geopolitical conditions in the neighboring countries and diplomatic tension between Turkey and leading European Union (EU) countries. With its fashion-oriented and quality products, Turkey has been increasing her share in the main markets, especially in the European market.

“Women’s or girls’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, etc.” and “Men’s or boys’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches, etc.” are the most important export products in woven clothing sector.

In terms of logistics, the country has a strategic location as it is the gateway to European markets.
The county is a rich source of the raw materials that are used for the production. Turkey ranks number 7 in global cotton production.

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 the 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 utilizing advanced technologies to grow their industry.

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flame resistant apparel

Competitiveness of the textile industry

Although the Turkish textile industry has been experiencing stable 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 labor cost.

To maintain its competitive edge, local producers have to create more creative and innovative designs that target high-income groups. As the 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 program. It is specifically created to make domestic producers become more competitive.


Today, Turkish textiles and clothing industry is the most outward-oriented industry that can compete with any other countries in the international markets in terms of high quality and a wide range of products. Turkey has already increased its cotton production, which will put it on track to become less dependent on external sources of cotton.

At the same time, the government of the country is very concern to eliminate the remaining problems in the industry, therefore, in near future, Turkey might be the strongest competitor for its major rival countries.

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Turkish clothing, textile sector eyes $29B in exports

Already one of the world’s most prominent textile and clothing producers, Turkey this year is aiming higher to hit a sizeable rise in exports.

According to an Anadolu Agency analysis of Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) data, textile and ready-wear sector exports rose 3.8 percent in 2018 to reach $26.1 billion.

İsmail Gülle, TİM’s chairman, told Anadolu Agency that the figure fell short of the sector’s potential.

“Turkey’s textile and apparel sector will turn our currency advantage to an opportunity in 2019 and work through their target thanks to Turkish brands [instead of contract manufacturing],” he said.

Gülle added that 500 shops featuring Turkish brands are set to open abroad this year.

He said that this year the textile and apparel sector aims to boost exports by around 10 percent to some $29 billion.

Ahmet Öksüz, head of the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association (İTHİB), underlined that exporters are prioritizing getting a larger slice of the global market.

“One of our biggest targets is to make the sector, which is currently the seventh-biggest exporter globally, one of world’s top five exporters by raising its share to 5 percent of the global market,” he said.

Textile sector exports to Africa and the Americas picked up last year, along with the EU, Turkey’s main trading partner, Öksüz pointed out.

“Our sector’s exports to Africa hit an all-time high, topping last year’s target of $1 billion, up 13.5 percent year-on-year,” he said.

Calling Africa a strategic target market for the sector, Öksüz said South America and the Far East have been identified as this year’s targets.

“We will carry out projects for the Japanese and South Korean markets,” he said.

Mustafa Gültepe, head of the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (İHKİB), said in the mid- and long-term, the ready-wear sector aims to export $33 billion in goods annually.

“We project that clothing sector exports will grow 10 percent on a yearly basis in 2019,” Gültepe said.

Ready-wear exporters will focus on the U.S. market along with their biggest market, the EU, he said.

“Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa are also among our target markets,” he added.

Gültepe said Turkey can do quick product turnaround thanks to its integrated facilities, strong design infrastructure, experience, know-how, and qualified labor force.

“Turkey has a great advantage for the European market in terms of its geographical location,” he said.

In 2018 the textile and raw materials and ready-wear sectors combined constituted nearly 16 percent of Turkey’s total exports.

Turkey’s exports last year hit an all-time high of $168.1 billion, up from about $157 billion in 2017, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan announced last week.

Exports in 2018 climbed 7.1 percent year-on-year, she said.

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