RESUL – Losses in trade, jobs distress Anatolian textile hub

Losses in trade, jobs distress Anatolian textile hubAmid declining exports and increasing unemployment rates, businesses in one of Turkeyand#39s key textile production centers, Denizli, are having trouble making ends meet.Garments have traditionally been the main exports of the Aegean city of Denizli.

Textiles comprise 40 percent of its total exports per year on average. However, it suffered a 20 percent and a 15 percent decline in textile exports in January and February of this year, respectively.

The government assesses the jobless rate in the city at 10.5 percent.

However, local business representatives say unemployment is much higher than these official figures suggest. Others estimate unregistered employment at 40 percent in Denizli.

This decline is significant, as Denizli represents an Anatolian economy that was fast-emerging during the last decade. Famous for its high-quality home textile production and entrepreneurial prowess, the city is an Anatolian Tiger, a term used to describe Anatolian cities in which business, as well as population, is booming.

This term also applies to Konya, Kayseri, Gaziantep and KahramanmaraI, cities which have spearheaded much of the surge in Turkish exports and have played an instrumental role in the political and economic development of large swaths of the Turkish countryside. Denizli was once home to leading textile firms, as well as the birthplace of Turkish industrial magnates such as Ahmet Zorlu, the owner of electronics giant Vestel.

The city of Denizli recorded exports totaling $3.53 billion in 2014, a negligible 23 percent increase from the figures reported in 2013.

While failing to meet expectations, Denizliand#39s increase in exports also fell below figures reported by peers such as Sakarya (16.3 percent) and Manisa (7 percent) during the same year Denizli Chamber of Commerce (DTO) head and board member of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Necdet zer told Todayand#39s Zaman over the weekend that jobless rates recently reaching double-digits is a key concern for local producers.

According to Denizli Chamber of Industry (DSO) President Mujdat Keeci, producers in Denizli are forced to adapt to fast-changing global market dynamics and foreign exchange rate fluctuations. andldquoWe have to diversify our export markets and review our production model to stem the losses from volatilities in markets,andrdquo Keeci told Todayand#39s Zaman.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman