Carpets: A Turkish tradition

With nearly $10 billion in exports over the past five years, the Turkish carpet industry ranks second in the global carpet trade.

Throughout time, carpets have reflected the lifestyle and taste of many civilisations. They are a staple of home decoration, bringing to the fore people’s desire for a cosy and warm atmosphere. Their history dates back to the start of humanity; people are known to have used animal hides to protect themselves from cold surfaces even before carpets were made. Globally, the carpet trade is divided into two main groups: hand-made and machine-made, based on manufacturing techniques, costs, usage purposes, and market structures. Turkey is a leading exporter in both main groups. Used in the past and today by countless civilisations, carpets are one of the many products that Turkey has turned into a global brand. Carpet-making is an art form that Turks brought to prominence and introduced to the world. Over time, it has grown into an industry that creates many jobs, enjoys great export potential, and contributes to various fields. One of the world’s most prominent carpet manufacturers, Turkey is continuously expanding its global market share with ever-increasing export potential each year.

Worldwide recognition

The Turkish carpet industry is well-known around the world thanks to the superiour-quality products it creates by applying advanced technology in production. Turkey holds a 15 per cent market share in the world carpet trade, ranking number two behind the industry leader China.

The industry’s exports make an immense contribution to the Turkish economy. Over the past five years, Turkish carpet exports reached a value of nearly $10 billion, while the industry’s imports were only one-tenth of this figure. Belgium, India and the Netherlands are the other countries at the top of the list of the world’s machine-made carpet exporters. Turkey has a considerable competitive advantage – the carpet industry increased its export capacity by 100 per cent in the 2007-2015 period, and has set high targets for the future.

Exports to 160 countries

The Turkish carpet industry posted total exports of $2.01 billion in 2015, to more than 160 countries with those in the Middle East accounting for most of the exports. Saudi Arabia takes the lead with 22 per cent of exports, followed by the US, Iraq, Libya, and Germany. Machine-made carpets account for about 90 per cent of the Turkish carpet industry, with most of the production taking place in the Southeastern provinces. Turkey’s best-known city Istanbul also has intensive machine-made carpet production.

Turkey is also a leading country in the area of hand-made carpets and kilims. India, Turkey, China, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet stand out in the world’s hand-made carpet and kilim production and exports. Meanwhile, the US, Japan, Germany and Slovakia are the Turkish carpet industry’s top export countries for hand-made carpets and kilims.

Open-minded

The Turkish carpet industry plans on expanding the export market into Africa and the Far East in the coming period. The industry is growing steadily with endless investments. It sets its investments and development based on the 2023 targets, and in 2016 the initiatives with regard to the target countries will be intensified. The objective is to expand the carpet export market across the globe. The number of export countries will be increased with Saudi Arabia and the US at the top of the list. The industry has also accomplished a great feat in the German market. The Turkish carpet industry does not shy away from benefiting from the advantages presented by ever-developing technology, and it continues to push the limits of creativity with a completely open mind.