Türkiye shares ambition to become world’s ‘biggest’ textile producer

Türkiye's textile industry told Texhibition Istanbul attendees and Just Style its ultimate aim is to become the "biggest" global textile manufacturer despite the country losing competitiveness due to recent global crises.

Türkiye has faced challenges such as the February 2023 earthquake hitting some of its key manufacturing regions, however Turkish textile exports continued to grow despite this and reached $28.5bn last year, according to the Istanbul Textile and raw Materials Exporters’ Association (ITHIB).

Amidst global economic uncertainties and adversities, the Turkish textile industry stands as a beacon of resilience and ambition, as highlighted at the 5th edition of Texhibition Istanbul Fabric, Yarn, and Textile Accessories Fair held in the residential and industrial district of Bakırköy in Istanbul, Turkey.

Organised by Turkish industry bodies, including the Ministry of Trade, TIM (Türkiye Exporters Assembly), ITHIB, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, KOSGEB (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organisation), and IFM (Istanbul Fuar Merkezi), the event brought together key stakeholders from not just the Turkish textile industry but also countries like Japan and Spain.

The Texhibition Istanbul Fair served as a platform for showcasing Türkiye’s textile industry’s capabilities and fostering collaborations.

ITHIB shared that with annual export of over $12bn, Türkiye ranks fifth in global textile exports and is the second largest supplier to the EU. It believes that Turkish fabrics and textile accessories are in demand worldwide thanks to their “high quality, innovation, and commitment to sustainability in production.”

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“This reputation is further bolstered by Türkiye’s long-standing history and expertise in textile manufacturing, which allows for a diverse range of products, from traditional designs to cutting-edge fashion materials. Additionally, the sector’s focus on eco-friendly practices and responsible sourcing aligns with global environmental standards, further enhancing its appeal to international markets,” added ITHIB.

Türkiye’s global ambitions

Addressing attendees, ITHIB’s Chairman, Ahmet Öksüz underscored the impact of recent challenges, such as the 2023 earthquake.

Despite setbacks, Öksüz said that in recent years, the Turkish textile sector’s share increased by 2-3.5%. Moreover, even though the export numbers were affected, Türkiye maintained its market share in key markets like the US and Europe, highlighting its resilience in the face of adversity.

He is of the view that textile branding is more important than ever now to grow.

Similarly, Mustafa Gültepe, chairman of Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TİM), reflected on the industry’s importance for the country’s development and employment. He said that in the 1980s, both the apparel and textile sectors led to the increase of exports.

Gültepe shared that Türkiye has “lost ” its competitiveness due to global crises and missed its export target this year by $4.8bn.

However, he expressed optimism, noting positive reflections on exports and an anticipated upward trend in the second half of 2024. Gültepe emphasised Türkiye’s strong brand reputation in textiles and ready-made garments (RMG) thanks to its quality production, speed, and social responsibility.

In addition to this, he marked Türkiye’s readiness for the Green Deal, saying “we are preparing for the long-term.”

Promising second-half for the Turkish textile industry

Minister of Trade of Türkiye, Prof. Dr. Ömer Bolat, echoed these sentiments, praising the industry’s performance during challenging times.

Prof. Dr. Bolat highlighted Türkiye’s resilience in maintaining quality standards despite crises like the pandemic and earthquake. He noted positive economic indicators, including significant growth in national income and exports, signal a promising outlook for the Turkish textile sector.

He also announced government initiatives to support the industry such as tax incentives and extension of quality support programmes in the earthquake affected textile area. These measures are aimed at bolstering Türkiye’s position as a leading textile exporter and stimulate further investments in the sector.

Türkiye’s textile industry stakeholders also pointed out that as the world navigates economic challenges, the Turkish textile industry’s resilience and growth ambitions position it as a key player in the global market, ready to capitalise on emerging opportunities and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.

In February, leaders from Turkish trade bodies revealed how they plan to achieve “double-digit” growth in apparel exports at the Istanbul Fashion Connection (IFCO) trade show.