Transformation Journey Of The Turkish Apparel Industry

ISTANBUL — January 30, 2024 — Speaking at the summit where Turkish apparel manufacturers and global brands and purchasing groups came together, TIM and IHKIB President Mustafa Gültepe said:

“The path of 40 billion dollars of exports in apparel passes through European and US markets.”

Mustafa Gültepe

Reminding that Türkiye exports 60% of its total apparel to EU countries, Mustafa Gültepe stated, “When we add other European countries and the U.S., the ratio approaches 75%. While working on alternatives for the $40 billion in exports, we need to focus more on the European and U.S. markets.

The fashion industry, which has strategic importance for the Turkish economy with its value- added production, employment, and exports, came together with representatives of global brands and Laison offices at the ‘Green transformation’ summit. At the meeting hosted by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB), the studies carried out in the process of adaptation to the Green Deal were put under the spotlight, and the expectations of the Turkish fashion industry from the stakeholders were also expressed.

The opening of the meeting, attended by representatives of relevant ministries and foreign representations, national and international fund providers, as well as brands and buying groups were brought together, was made by Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) and IHKIB President Mustafa Gültepe. In his speech, Gültepe underlined that Türkiye is a global player in apparel. Reminding that Türkiye realizes approximately 3.5 percent of world apparel exports, Gültepe continued as follows:

“As IHKIB, we aim to increase our current annual exports, which are around $20 billion, to $40 billion. The road to the goal goes through Europe and America because the European Union is our largest market in apparel. We export 60 percent of our total apparel exports to EU countries.

When we add other European countries and the USA, the ratio approaches 75 percent. While working on alternatives for the $40 billion in exports, we need to focus more on the European and U.S. markets because, as the data shows, the path to $40 billion in apparel exports goes through Europe and the U.S. We already have long-standing collaborations with brands centered in Europe and America. With our knowledge, speed, production quality, design power, and geographical proximity to Europe, we distinguish ourselves from competitors. We took a very important step in the transformation process exactly one year ago. “We shared our action plan, which is a road map for our fashion industry’s compliance with the Green Deal, with the public on January 30, 2023.”


Stating that they have moved to the implementation phase in 13 of the 40 actions determined in the road map, Mustafa Gültepe stated that there is still a long way to go and much work to be done. Gültepe concluded his words as follows:

“Türkiye is one of the two countries where all components from fiber to the final product are completed in the supply chain. Also, we differentiate ourselves from competitors with our design power, production quality, proximity to target markets, and strong supplier infrastructure. We know that we need to add sustainability to our existing advantages. We believe that we can turn the Green Transformation process into an opportunity with the ‘partnership chain approach.’ We want to be an indispensable part of the ‘partnership chain’ rather than just being a link in the supply chain. This is where the criteria of ‘compliance’, ‘competitiveness’ and ‘sustainability’ come to the fore. We need to be complied and appropriate in environmental, social and managerial terms, competitive in terms of price performance, and complete sustainability compliance. Of course, quality has a value and value has a cost. For this reason, we think that the global brands we have been working with for years should not only look at the matter from a price-focused perspective. Just like in production, we should be able to base our collaborations on a sustainable ground.”

Mustafa Gültepe and Euratex Director General Dirk Vantyghem

After Mustafa Gültepe’s opening speech, Euratex Director General Dirk Vantyghem, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Trade Bahar Güçlü, and Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Güneş made presentations regarding the ongoing efforts in the Green Deal process.

Dirk Vantyghem, in his presentation, discussed the sustainability strategy of the textile and apparel industry and the expectations from the EU administration, while Bahar Güçlü provided information about the reflections of legal regulations related to the Green Deal on Türkiye.

Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Güneş emphasized the significant opportunity that the Green Deal represents for the Turkish apparel industry, providing comprehensive insights into the efforts conducted by IHKIB regarding the Green Deal adaptation process.

Posted: January 30, 2024

Source: IHKIB — The Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association