The business sector was previously dominated by the agricultural sector, but since the end of the 20th century, agriculture’s share of GDP has steadily declined; however, a large proportion of agricultural employment still exists. The state has for a long time had a strong control over the economy, but since the 1990s, state ownership in the business sector has declined, and private manufacturing industry with textiles, vehicles and electronic goods has in recent years developed into the most dynamic sector in the country’s economy. The service and tourism industries also account for a significant and steadily growing share of the economy. After severe economic crises in 2001 and 2008, the Turkish economy has recovered since the end of 2009. The country has for a long time had major problems with corruption and a large informal economic sector.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing
About 50 percent of the country’s area is usable land, of which a full 13 percent is irrigated (2009). Agriculture, along with fishing and forestry, employs about 18 percent of the workforce. Agriculture is characterized by low productivity due to age-old cultivation methods and many small, economical farming units. Yet, Turkey is self-sufficient in food. Large investments are being made to expand the cultivated area, for example the construction of the large dams Atat邦rk and Karakaya at the Euphrates. The dams are part of the GAP project, which will provide the country with water energy while providing irrigation to agriculture. The project was launched in 1980 but is still not fully developed.
Abbreviated as TUR by abbreviationfinder.org, Turkey has very good soils and a climate favorable to agriculture. The most important crops are cereals (wheat, barley, corn), tobacco, cotton, citrus fruits, grapes (raisins), nuts and olives. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts. Modern, mechanized agriculture is conducted mainly around Lake Marmara, on the coast in the west and on the Cukurova plain in the south. On the Black Sea coast in the north, traditional family farming dominates on small lots. In the southeast there are many large goods with a significant number of debt-leased leases.
The grasslands of the eastern parts of the country are mainly used for grazing land for sheep and goats, while the breeding of cattle is concentrated to north-eastern Asia Minor and the Black Sea region. Excessive animal populations have led to overgrazing and serious erosion problems.
Forests – mainly conifers – cover 15 percent of the country’s area (2010), mainly in the areas facing the Black Sea. Most of the forest is state-owned and the economic exchange has so far been poor.
With its long coastline, Turkey has great potential as a fishing nation. However, this has only been used to a small extent, mainly due to lack of infrastructure. The most important fishing lake is the Black Sea, which accounts for 70 percent of saltwater fishing (mainly anchovies and mackerel). However, water pollution and overfishing have resulted in greatly reduced catches. During the 1980s, a large number of fish farms were built on the Mediterranean coast. These have been criticized for polluting the environment.
Turkey is rich in minerals and is a world leader in the extraction of pumice and borax. Large deposits are found of barite, bauxite, bentonite, feldspar, kaolin, chromite, magnesite and pearlite. In addition, antimony, lead, coal, copper, iron ore, magnesium, manganese, sulfur and zinc are extracted.
Bituminous coal is mined at Zonguldak on the Black Sea, while lignite is found in many parts of central and western Asia Minor. The majority of chromium production is exported unprocessed. Eskişehir in north-west Asia Minor is the world’s largest sea foam resort.
The mining sector accounts for just over 1 percent of the country’s GDP and just over 2 percent of export value.
Turkey is the country in Europe with the lowest energy consumption per capita, around one sixth of Sweden’s. However, the annual increase in energy demand is very high, about 4% (2009), and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.
About 70 percent of the total energy demand is imported (2009). Domestic electricity production is based on coal (just over 50 percent), followed by biofuels, hydropower, oil and natural gas. Energy imports account for over 80% of oil and natural gas, but coal is also imported. Energy use is a significant part of private consumption (housing), followed by the industrial and transport sectors.
Turkey has large stocks of coal and lignite and has a great potential for water. Oil and natural gas deposits are small and domestic production covers only a small part of the need. The dam construction at Euphrates and Tigris is estimated to more than double the production of water electricity. Several nuclear power plants are planned and the first reactor in Akkuyu is expected to be commissioned in 2020.
The countries east and south of Turkey are major oil and natural gas producers. The country’s strategic position between producers in the east and south and consumers in the west has made Turkey an important transit country for oil and natural gas. On the one hand, oil and natural gas is shipped out via ports in the Black Sea, and on the other, the country is crossed by several major oil and natural gas pipelines.
- Paulsourcing: Top 10 tips for doing business in Turkey, covering country profile and market entry requirement.
The industry has a leading role in Turkey’s business planning. However, it is unevenly developed as a result of bureaucracy and a lack of capital, energy and educated labor. In the 1960s, a policy aimed at reducing imports and dependence on the world market was initiated, and major state-owned companies were prioritized. In the 1970s, however, the private sector accounted for almost half of industrial production. In the 1980s, a privatization of the large state-owned companies was initiated and a simultaneous focus on exports; a number of free trade zones were established to attract foreign companies to Turkey.
The most significant is the textile and clothing industry. The iron and steel industry, the chemical industry as well as the vehicle manufacturing and the cement industry are also of great importance. The most important industrial areas are in western and southwestern Turkey (Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir) as well as at Ankara and along the south coast (Adana). Large parts of eastern Asia Minor were for a long time industrially undeveloped, but during the 00s the textile industry has been moving ever farther east as the wage situation is lower there.
Since 1947, Turkey has had a constant trade deficit. The most important import goods are machinery, chemicals and fuel. Exports mainly consist of textiles, food, iron and steel and agricultural products. Turkey’s main trading partners are Germany, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Italy, China and the Arab oil countries. Since 1996, Turkey has a customs union with the EU, and in 2010 it entered into an agreement with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to create a free trade zone. Similar discussions are taking place with Iran.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Turkey, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Tourism and gastronomy
The country joined the European charter wave late. In 1960, there were a total of 94,000 foreign visitors, a figure that increased to 500,000 in 1970. In 1993, 6.5 million tourists arrived and in 2015 the figure was 39.5 million. Tourist revenue amounts to almost 15 percent of export revenue.
Note: the capital city of Turkey is Ankara with a population of 5 504 000 (2018). Other major cities include Istanbul with a population of 15,677,000 (2018), Izmir with a population of 4,320,000 (2018), Bursa with a population of 2,994,000 (2018), Antalya with a population of 2,426,000 (2018).
Turkey has good conditions for tourism with coasts, mountain areas and multicultural cities, for example. Istanbul and Izmir. Many charter trips go directly to the seaside tourism destinations along the Mediterranean coast. But the natural starting point for a trip to Turkey is Istanbul, one of the most important cities of Western cultural heritage. The city’s most famous building is Hagia Sofia, the immense memorial church which was the foremost edifice of the East Roman Empire and subsequently became the mosque of the Islamic Caliph. Not far from there is the square At Meydanı, the well-preserved Byzantine racetrack, and next to the atmospheric Sultan Ahmed I mosque (the Blue Mosque), with one of the world’s leading carpet museums in a side building. The old palace area Topkapı with its richly decorated interiors and its unique collections of books, costumes, jewelery and porcelain also attracts many tourists to visit. Adjacent to Topkapı is the Archaeological Museum with sculpture from Greek and Roman times and a small exquisite ceramic museum.
On the opposite side of the Golden Horn lies the Pera/ Beyoğlu district, with its old embassy palace, the last sultan’s huge Dolmabahçe palace and the enchanting Pera Palas Hotel. From Pera’s quays, you can take the ferry over to the sister city of Üsk邦dar on the Asian side, less touristy but with an old-fashioned atmosphere and full of interesting 14th-century mosque architecture.
Ankara is Istanbul’s opposite. On the wind-blown Anatolian plateau it is hot in summer and biting cold in winter. The old-fashioned Turkish city at its height contrasts with the modern settlement of the last seventy years; The Hittite Museum is unique in the world.
On the Aegean coast, within easy reach of the center of beach tourism, are some of the most important monuments of Greek and Roman culture, in many cases very well preserved: Pergamon, Priene, Ephesus, Miletos, Assos, Sardes. Of the former Troja and Halicarnassos (Bodrum), less remains, but the environment is suggestive. Along the Turkish south coast, smaller antiquities sites are close. Antalya and Alanya are important tourist destinations but also have interesting local attractions.
Older Ottoman civilization will meet in the former capitals of Bursa and Edirne, exquisitely decorated mosques, Koran schools, bathing facilities and caravans. Izmir has admittedly well-stocked bazaar quarter and an excellent museum, but the main part of the city’s newly built after the fire in 1922. Many tourists visit Pamukkale, whose curative mineral springs have formed large circular pools, stalactites and cliffs of sparkling white calcium deposits. Another common destination is Cappadocia’s ruin landscape with 600 churches from the 11th to 11th centuries carved from the cliff, underground cities, etc. in the area around Göreme. Konya, whose interesting city center with mosques from the 13th century is surrounded by ugly industrial buildings, is best known as the place where successors to the 12th-century mystic Mevlana in December each year performs the famous dervish dance.
For those entering Eastern Turkey, great experiences await; here the tourists are rarer. The Byzantine culture can be found in the ancient churches and the picturesque cityscape of Trabzon on the Black Sea, the Seljuq in Erzurum’s stately but gloomy mosques and the Armenian on Lake Vans; in particular on the ruined and abandoned Abbey of Ahtamar with the remarkable ruin of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Difficult to reach but all the more suggestive is the Commagen dynasty burial ground at 2 100 m above sea level. at the inhospitable Nemrud dağı, where the fallen giant faces of the royal sculptures lie scattered on the bare hillside.
The food in Turkey is in many respects a veritable sandwich table; Here, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Orthodox Christian traditions, influences from Roman, Greeks, Armenians are mixed with Russian and North African features. This is not least the real sandwich table, the emergence of small dishes called meze and is a distinguishing feature in Turkish gastronomy. Nuts, olives, vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, raisins and parsley, innanmat the brain (poached and marinated in vinegar dressing), cubes of salted sheep cheese, small minced meat buns, taramasalata (fish roe touch), börek (fried ostknyten), mussels, pastirma (marinated, seasoned and dried meat in slices), marinated mushrooms, beans, suçuk (dried sausage) andcacık (yogurt sauce with cucumber and garlic) are just some of the most common dishes. Soup (çorba), either with meat (usually lamb) and/or vegetables or with yogurt, also precedes the main meal, as if it consists of meat usually containing lamb, sheep or goat. Doner kebab, lamb and fat on skewers, is now a world-famous Turkish national dish, as is şiş kebab, where lamb meat is marinated in pieces before being grilled. Other meat dishes are hunk beyendi (lamb meat grilled and served with eggplant puree) as well as various fare.
The sea contributes with many ingredients (mackerel, sardine, tuna, turbot, eel, octopus, red mullet, hake); a preference for salted cod cooked in almond milk and flavored with chipped almond lives. Rice and bulgur wheat are common accessories; A pilaf turns into a whole dish if the rice is cooked with nuts, raisins, tomatoes and other vegetables and lamb, chicken or liver. Garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, citrus and various herbs are common spices.
Desserts and pastries are sweet, with nuts, honey and syrup as basic ingredients. Often, the pastries carry sensual names, such as kadın göbeği (female navel) and hanım parmağı (female fingers). What in international language is called Turkish delight is called rahat locum in the country of origin and consists of pistachios, sugar pulp and grape juice, not very similar to the pink tough creations sold outside Turkey. A well-known Turkish specialty is Turkish coffee with its base of finely ground coffee.