Cotton production has a long tradition in Turkey.The textile and clothing sector represents one of the largest industries in the country. Cotton yarn is the key driver of the Turkish textile and clothing industry. Clothing exports are still the driving force. The labour-intensive clothing industry requires only low investments. In contrast, investment requirements for textile subsectors, such as spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing, are significantly higher.
In 1980, government strategies and policies (the so-called stability measures) focused on creating a globally competitive Turkish textile market through trade liberalization, the promotion of export-led development, dynamic economic structures, and inflation control. Trade liberalization measures facilitated the development of an export-oriented textile and clothing sector. The adopted stability measures led to a dramatic expansion of cotton-based textile exports. The clothing industry and the cotton-based textile sector became the leading industrial sectors in Turkey. Further, the stability measures included Free Trade Agreements with other countries and a Customs Union agreement with the European Union.
Currently, the Turkish textile and clothing industry focuses on value added products, thus reducing the production of basic cotton products. The local clothing industry emphasizes on new designs and fashion collections for the top end international apparel market.
Institutional Framework and Infrastructure for the Turkish textile and clothing sector:
- Agricultural Sales Cooperatives and Agricultural Sales Cooperatives Unions, established in the mid-1930s protect the interest of cotton growers;
- Semi-governmental export associations are essential for promotional activities to be effective. These associations act as an important link between the Government and the export sector;
- Sectoral trading companies were established in the textile and clothing sector. These trading companies enable small and medium enterprises to join forces to accept large orders. Further, they speed up customs formalities and export procedures;
- Export promotional activities stimulate the development of a sustainable business environment;
- Participation at international trade fairs;
- Organization of fashion shows;
- Invitation of international buyer groups to Turkey;
- Organization of promotion meeting between exporters and potential buyers in the textile and clothing sector;
- Establishment of research centres, testing laboratories, academic institutions, vocational training centres, textile foundations and other related NGOs to support research and development activities.