Turkish Textile History

The history of textile production in Turkey goes back to the Ottoman period. In the 16th and 17th centuries, textile production was widespread and at an advanced level. The fact that until the end of the empire the Ottoman industry was heavily relied on textile industry was the clear indication of the importance of the sector.

Having rapidly developed in the 20th century, a great textile production capacity was created in Turkey between the years 1923-1962. The extensive growth of the cotton in Turkey, the most important raw material of the textile industry, was further contributed to the development of the textile sector during the following years.

Until 1972, the sector gained more strength due to the finalization of first planned development period. The period between 1980 and 1989 was witness to opening to the foreign markets. The textile sector has made important contribution to the development of clothing industry as well. In the 1990’s, the share of textile sector within the total Turkish exports reached to 9,3% by showing a high export performance.

The textile industry, today, has become one of the most important components of the Turkish economy with its export value of 5,4 billion dollars.

As parallel to the expectations of the formation of Customs Union with the European Union (EU), the production capacity of the sector increased in the 1990’s. With regards to machinery capacity, Turkey has 3% of short staple spinning capacity of the world, 5% of long staple spinning capacity of the world, 7,3% of OE rotor capacity of the world, 3,5% of shuttleless weaving looms capacity of the world, 1,9% of shuttle weaving looms capacity of the world and 5,1% of wool weaving looms capacity of the world by the year 2008.

As a more capital intensive industry as compared to clothing industry, most of the companies in the sector are medium scale. The industry has also large scale companies having integrated production facilities. There are nearly 7.500 textile manufacturers producing for the textile export of Turkey. The production facilities mainly concentrated in İstanbul, İzmir, Denizli, Bursa, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep.