Mehmet Sureya Er – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to the Republic of Uzbekistan. Since 2012, he worked as a Vice President of TIKA, where he supervised departments of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as External Relations and Cooperation. Previously, he was one of the heads of the People’s Diplomacy Department in the office of the Prime Minister of Turkey. In 2004-2010 he taught at the University of Michigan (USA). He is fluent in English, Russian, Uzbek, Arabic, French and other languages. He serves as an Ambassador of the Turkish Republic in Uzbekistan since 2018.
In the context of the integration of the world economy, the light industry due to the high capital turnover, rapid mobility of resources and a high share of employment in it plays an important role in the capitalization and economic security of the national economy, in solving social problems and improving the welfare of the people. Therefore, designing programs for development of the light industry is an important task for economies of both developed and developing countries. In this regard, the Republic of Turkey has a rich history, deep traditions and a vast experience. The editor-in-Chief of “EVU” magazine asked the Ambassador of Turkey to the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Mehmet Sureya Er to tell us about the history of the textile industry and its role in the economy of Turkey, as well as about the cooperation of our countries in this area.
– Turkey is one of the world’s leading textile powers due to its rich centuries-old history. Mr. Ambassador can you tell us about the origins of the textile industry in your country and its role in the economy.
– The textile industry of Turkey is one of the oldest and leading spheres of production, so it has always been and still remains the leader of its economy. The history of development of our textiles is calculated in three millennia, i.e. originated in Anadolu in the period of settlement of Hitit and Assur – indigenous members of the population of the country. Later, with the establishment in Anadulu of Turkish, Mongolian and Tatar tribes who migrated from Asia, the textile tradition, enriched by the innovations introduced into it by migrants, received a new, powerful impetus for development, and finally stayed in this ancient land as the main activity of the country’s population. The development of lively trade relations with Iran and Syria contributed to the introduction of new methods and technologies, new types of fabrics and colors in Anadolu. During the rule of Seljuks’ state and later the Ottomans silk textile products were the main source of commerce and income.
– At different times in the world there were global political and economic changes, how did the Industrial Revolution in Europe affect the textile industry in your country? What measures have been taken by the government to support the textile industry?
– The emergence of new modern technology and new industrial production in the West in the XVIII century has led to the decrease of prices, which negatively affected the economy of the Ottoman state. Since the nineteenth century the textile sector has been under the threat of crisis. However, the Chuha factory in Beykuz, and printing factory in Bakirkoy, operating in the early nineteenth century for military needs only did not stop its activities. In order to survive this period and preserve the traditions and experience accumulated over the millennia, the textile industry was re-qualified for the processing of cotton and other raw materials. The establishment of enterprises for processing of silk raw materials and silkworm in the territories of Tarsus and Adan gave impetus to the rapid formation and development of the silk industry. With the formation of the Republic of Turkey, the government’s attention to textiles increased again, giving impetus to the revival of ancient textile traditions. The law on the support of industry has opened favorable opportunities for builders and entrepreneurs to set up many large textile factories as well as and small productions and mini workshops. As a result of these measures, by the thirties of the last century, the share of the textile industry in the country was already 23% and by the middle of the twentieth century again reached its previous heights, becoming the main economic indicators (production volume, number of jobs created, cost of production, etc.) the main income-generating sector of the state economy.
In the sixties, due to a sustained state support, the private sector continued its dynamic development, as evidenced by the growth of both the number of enterprises and employment in them. If in 1950 about 32 thousand people worked in 441 textile enterprises of the private sector, then in 10 years the number of enterprises exceeded 1000 units, and the number of jobs reached 74 thousand units.
The above-mentioned governmental measures to support the industry contributed to the full saturation of the domestic market with local textile products of high quality and the government of the country set a new bar for development – export orientation of the goods produced. Thus, since the eighties, Turkey has embarked on a policy of export orientation of industrial goods, which contributed to further rapid development of the textile industry and the achievement of positions not only as a leading sector of the country’s economy, but also as its main exporter.
– How did Turkey’s textile industry survive the global economic crisis?