Turkey’s textile and apparel exports are approaching $30 bn annually, while $7.5 bn of this amount comes from Merter, a district in Istanbul known for its ready-to-wear textiles. Merter Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MESIAD) Chairman Yusuf Gecü announced the latest statistics recently, adding that the district exports textile and apparel products to 215 countries around the world.

Gecü noted that all medium and large textile and apparel manufacturers in Turkey have a store or showroom in Merter. He said that there are 10,000 stores in the region and that the number of people directly employed in these stores has reached 100,000.

The Chairman stressed that it is important to reach this employment figure in a region where only the promotion and sales of a labour-intensive sector, such as textile, are conducted. He also stated that the number of employees in the production of these brands is much higher and that 80 per cent of the textiles and apparel manufacturers in Merter produce outside the region.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that Merter welcomes 3,000 importers every day from 60 countries in the Middle East, Africa, the Turkic Republics, the Far East and especially from the US, Russia, Europe and Gulf countries. “We are the first to come to mind in terms of textile. Turkey is already the shining star of the world in the textile and apparel sector. No matter where in Turkey, our producers are selling from here,” he said. Merter’s exports amount to 25 per cent of annual textile and apparel exports in the country. He said that Turkey’s 2023 goal is to exceed $50 bn in exports, adding that they aim to make up $15 bn of this figure in Merter alone.

Gecü said that Turkey’s average export value per kilogram is around $1.7 and that this figure reached $15 in apparel and $5 in textile. He pointed out that they continue to work on further increasing these figures. He explained that Turkish goods are perceived abroad as cheaper than Europe and much better quality than China. He said this perception was placed in the minds of consumers particularly in Russia, Turkic Republics, African, European, Middle Eastern and Gulf countries. “We will combine quality product with design and deepen markets,” Gecü said.

Gecü noted that the Turkish textile industry, which closely follows all the fairs in the world and participates in the events, closely monitors fashion and that this is how they can easily bring the latest trends to consumers. He emphasized that Turkey is among the few countries in the world in terms of producing quality denim jeans and knitted products. To conclude, Gencü said that Turkish producers are also working their way to becoming top brands themselves.