Steps taken towards the normalization of relations between Turkey and Russia have raised expectations in the Turkish textile and apparel sectors that commerce with Russia will speed up.
Following Turkey’s shooting down a Russian fighter, Moscow imposed several embargoes ranging from the import of Turkish foods to Turkish construction firms.
Last week, the two countries restored ties again after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone.
Speaking with Anadolu Agency (AA), Laleli Industrialists and Businessmen Association (LASİAD) President Gıyasettin Eyyüpkoca said Turkey was a really good producer, and Russia a very good consumer, stressing that the two countries have been partners for nearly 25 years.
Indicating Turkey’s shared interests with Russia, Eyyüpkoca said: “We knew that the problem with Russia would not last too long. The steps taken towards the normalization of the relations are quite healthy and positive. The greatest love sees fighting. Our relations with Russia sit on a firm basis, and I can say that relations between us will be healthier, and commerce will be along international norms.”
Stating that steps towards normalization would directly contribute to tourism, exports of fruit and vegetables, as well as the textile and apparel trade, Eyyüpkoca foresees an increase in apparel sales of 15-20 percent over the short term.
Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB) President Hikmet Tanrıverdi said the apparel sales played an important part in economic relations between Turkey and Russia, and was among the sectors most affected by the cooling in relations. “We aim to rapidly move up to our former position in relation to the recoveries in economy along with the new period. Starting from 2017, we expect exports of between $400 million to $500 million.”
Recalling that during the 2009 global crisis, Turkey exported $182 million worth of apparel to Russia, a number that reached $412 million in 2013, Tanrıverdi said Russia was one of Turkey’s top ten markets, but the problems emerging in the Russian economy and problems in bilateral relations had caused export to slide back to where it was six to seven years ago, dropping to $204 million for 2015. Tanrıverdi said apparel exports to Russia during the first five months of 2016 hit $45 million, marking 49.5 percent of Turkey’s apparel exports.
Russian Federation National Security Academy Foreign Economic Relations Vice President Talat Enver Çetin said he believed the relations between Turkey and Russia would continue and strengthen in the coming period.
Asserting that the increasing collaboration between the two countries alarmed Western powers, Çetin said, “Future relations will be established more firmly in the fields of tourism and energy, so as to not break off again.”