30/01/2024 – Turkish apparel industry

Targeting US$ 40 billion in exports

At the “Green Transformation” summit, Turkish apparel manufacturers, global brands, and purchasing groups came together to discuss the industry´s future. Mustafa Gültepe, President of Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) and Istanbul Apparel Exporters´ Association (IHKIB), emphasized the pivotal role of European and U.S. markets in achieving the ambitious US$ 40b apparel export target.


Mustafa Gültepe, President of Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) and Istanbul Apparel Exporters´ Association (IHKIB) speaking at the “Green Transformation” summit. © IHKIB


Goal achivement with emphasis on sustainability and global collaboration

Gültepe highlighted in his speech that Türkiye already exports 60% of its apparel to EU countries, and when considering other European nations and the U.S., the ratio reaches 75%. With a focus on sustainability, the summit addressed the industry´s adaptation to the Green Deal. A year ago, a roadmap aligning Türkiye´s fashion industry with the Green Deal, emphasizing the importance of environmental compliance, was unveiled. Gültepe continued as follows: “As IHKIB, we aim to increase our current annual exports, which are around US$ 20b, to US$ 40b. The road to the goal goes through Europe and America because the European Union is our largest market in apparel. We export 60% of our total apparel exports to EU countries.” Acknowledging Türkiye´s standing as a global player in apparel, Gültepe underscored the country´s strengths: a complete supply chain, design prowess, production quality, and geographical proximity to key markets. He stressed the need for global brands to consider factors beyond pricing, advocating for collaborations based on sustainability, compliance, and competitiveness.

Turkish fashion industry advances Green Transformation

Gültepe also updated attendees on progress, mentioning that 13 of the 40 actions outlined in the Green Deal roadmap were in the implementation phase. He said: “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.” Furthermore, the summit included also presentations by Euratex Director General Dirk Vantyghem, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Trade Bahar Güçlü, and Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Günes. They discussed sustainability strategies, legal regulations´ impact, and the opportunities the Green Deal presents for the Turkish apparel industry. Overall, the summit aimed to foster collaboration and drive the industry towards a greener and more sustainable future.

  • Source: IHKIB – Istanbul Apparel Exporters´ Association