Turkish manufacturers in earthquake-affected areas continue production

Garment factories in the cities of Malatya, Elazig and Sanliurfa are back in operation, and the impact on textiles in Kahramanmaras and Antiyaman is now “minor”, according to the Turkish Garment Manufacturers Association.

Infrastructure in industrial zones was generally less affected by this month’s earthquakes than in residential areas, and most factories are in relatively good condition, according to a statement released this week by Cem Altan, president of the International Federation of (IAF) and vice president of the Turkish Garment Manufacturers Association (TGSD).

On February 6, two major earthquakes shook southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, resulting in more than 47,000 deaths in both countries, according to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

“We are working with our members and stakeholders to identify and fulfill real needs in the region,” Altan said. “Short-term production cuts are inevitable, however, all stakeholders are working together to restart factories for social and economic reasons.”

Altan added that Turkey’s textile and clothing industries will use additional capacity built in 2021 and 2022 in the short term. For example, the country increased its yarn and textile production capacity by 25 percent last year thanks to new investments. Consequently, the capacity lost in the earthquake-affected areas is replaced by capacity in other cities outside the affected zone, such as Bursa, Istanbul, Tekirdag and Denizli.

The Turkish government has started supplying water, electricity and natural gas to some affected cities and airports have resumed operations. Temporary container communities are built around industrial zones to prevent labor migration.

The epicenter of the first earthquake was near Gaziantep, a Turkish city of more than two million residents in the country’s southeastern Anatolia region. Although the Turkish fashion industry is mostly concentrated elsewhere, including Istanbul and Ankara, where major companies are based and the clothing and textile manufacturers located in Bursa, Izmir and Denizli provinces, Gaziantep and other affected provinces in neighboring areas are also important to the industry.

According to a report by consulting firm Ikada, the origin of most Turkish textile exports in 2017 was Istanbul province, but Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras provinces are secondary hubs for the industry, while neighboring Adana and Kayseri provinces also have a significant manufacturing footprint.

As part of their close-knit efforts, global brands have moved more of their sourcing and production to countries like Turkey in recent years. H&M Group and Zara owner Index were among several fashion brands that contributed to the humanitarian crisis in the country earlier this month.

Turkey’s textile industry exported $16.2 billion in 2021 and was the world’s fifth largest supplier, while the apparel industry exported $18.3 billion and was the world’s fourth largest, according to a report by Fibre2Fashion.

Learn more:

Turkey’s economic crisis hits retailers, boosts garment exports

The country’s currency, the pound, has lost nearly half its value against the dollar in 2021 amid rising inflation, unorthodox economic policies that analysts say are the cause of the growing financial crisis, which has affected both the fashion industry retail as well as the manufacturing sector.

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