The Republic of Turkey – located at the crossroads of southeastern Europe and western Asia – has a
textile manufacturing history dating back to the 16th century. Today, Turkey’s textile and apparel
industry not only is a generator of economic activity, but also ranks among the leading exporters
In 2010, Turkey’s textile exports were valued at US$7.7 billion, and its apparel exports
were valued at US$13.3 billion, for a total value of US$21 billion, according to a report by Bülent
Ba¸ser, a member of the Textile Industry Sector Assembly of Turkey. In 2009, the country was the
seventh-largest exporter of textiles and the fourth-largest exporter of apparel in the world and
accounted for a 3.7-percent share of global textile and apparel exports. The Turkish Textile
Employers’ Association (TÜTSI˙S) reports that Turkey is the second-largest sock manufacturer
globally; the third-largest underwear exporter; the fourth-largest exporter of both carpet and home
textiles; and the leading producer of denim fabric.
Turkey currently is the European Union’s (EU’s) second-largest supplier, behind China, of
textiles and apparel. According to a 2010 report by Fatma Göktepe, Ph.D., a professor at Turkey’s
Namik Kemal University, Turkey exports 46.5 percent of its textiles and 80.2 percent of its apparel
to EU countries. In 2010, textile exports to Russia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan saw the highest
percentage increases over 2009 exports; and apparel exports to Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan saw
the highest percentage increases. Göktepe notes that Turkey’s apparel exports have entered new
markets, such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq, where exports increased collectively by 21.6
percent in 2010 over 2009.
According to 2009 statistics from the General Secretariat of Istanbul Textile and Apparel
Exporter Associations (ITKIB), there are approximately 7,500 textile manufacturers in Turkey
producing goods for export. Cotton fiber, yarn and woven fabrics comprised approximately 24 percent
of total textile exports. The primary textile items included man-made monofilament yarns, man-made
filament yarns, cotton woven fabrics, knitted fabrics, and woven pile fabrics such as velvet.
Turkey’s top textile export destinations included Russia, Italy, Germany, Romania, Poland, Iran,
Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and the United States.
ITKIB reports that in 2009, there were more than 11,000 apparel manufacturers producing
goods for export in Turkey. Knitted products comprised 54 percent of apparel exports; woven
products, 33 percent; and other products, 13 percent. The primary knitted apparel items included
cotton T-shirts, pullovers, cardigans, vests and socks; and primary woven items included women’s
and men’s outerwear, and women’s shirts and blouses. Turkey’s top apparel export destinations in
2009 included Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, the
United States, Belgium and Sweden.
Turkey produces a considerable amount of raw materials for use in manufacturing its textiles
and apparel. In 2009, the country produced 375,000 tons of cotton, making it the seventh-largest
cotton producer globally, ITKIB reports. Turkey also produces a significant amount of man-made
According to the Switzerland-based International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF),
during the period of 1990-2009, Turkey ranked second globally in investments in large circular
knitting machinery as well as open-end rotors; third in long-staple spindles; fourth in
short-staple spindles; and fifth in shuttleless looms.
ITMF’s 2009 and 2010 International Textile Machinery Shipment Statistics reports indicate
that Turkey invested in a significantly greater amount of textile machinery in 2010 over 2009,
particularly in spinning machinery: Imports of false-twist spindles increased by 633 percent;
long-staple spindles, 607 percent; open-end rotors, 587 percent; and short-staple spindles, 234
percent. In addition, Turkey’s imports of large-diameter circular knitting machinery increased by
348 percent; flat-knitting machinery, 192 percent; and shuttleless looms, 284 percent.
Turkey is aiming to achieve $500 billion in total exports and rank among the top 10
economies in the world by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic. The textile
and apparel industry certainly will play a role in helping Turkey attain this goal, as it is a
leading force in the economy: The industry has invested more than US$100 billion in integrated and
advanced technology; accounts for 25 percent of its export revenue and 11 percent of the national
gross income; and provides direct employment for more than two million people, TÜTSI˙S President
Halit Narin reports.
Recent figures released by TÜTSI˙S indicate that Turkey’s textile and apparel industry is
thriving in the aftermath of the global economic crisis. During the period of January-August 2011,
textile exports increased 29.59 percent and apparel exports increased 19.13 percent. The
association notes that higher prices and labor force problems in some of the major manufacturing
countries such as China have played a part in Turkey’s receipt of increased orders from the United
States and the EU. In August 2011, Turkey’s textile exports to Europe were above average, with
exports to Germany growing by 35 percent; Italy, 33 percent; and the United Kingdom, 27 percent.
Exports to Brazil increased 103 percent; India, 62 percent; China, 27 percent; and Russia, 33
Turkey’s textile and apparel industry aims to achieve US$80 billion in exports by 2023 –
with apparel accounting for US$60 billion; and textiles, US$20 billion.