Turkey's exports dropped to $7.67 billion in August, representing a 29.8 percent contraction over the same month of the preceding year, the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) has announced. TİM President Mehmet Büyükekşi announced the exports figures for August in the southeastern province of Hakkari at a press conference.

According to TİM data, Turkey's exports in the first eight months reached $60.34 billion. Meanwhile, annual exports as of the end of August were down 24.41 percent over the same period a year ago, at $97.73 billion. The ready-wear sector enjoyed the highest amount of exports in August with $1.1 billion, while the automotive industry logged $1.07 million in exports in the same month. The chemical materials industry also earned $933 million. The manufacturing industry, which accounted for 83.3 percent of all exports, logged $6.42 billion sales in the eighth month. The agriculture sector earned $1.01 billion from its overseas sales in the same month. Mining saw $231 million in exports in August.
The TİM head said a policy, adopted by both the government and exporter firms, to diversify Turkey's export markets since the emergence of the crisis has helped the country minimize problems thus far. “We have tightened our grip in the Middle Eastern and African markets thanks to such strategy.” Büyükekşi said the share of the EU, Turkey's traditional exports market, in Turkish exports has declined to 48 percent in the first seven months of the year from 52 percent in the same period of 2008. “The share of African and Middle East countries, however, is on the rise. The figures rose to 17 percent from 16 percent for the Middle East, while there was a 5 percent increase for Africa.”
Mentioning the route of the Turkish economy amidst an ongoing global financial crisis, he said they have started to see signs indicating the beginning of the end for problems in the markets. “To support a current positive atmosphere in the global markets, we should bring new incentives for our exporters. The central bank's successive interest cuts are of the utmost importance to this end.” Büyükekşi said everybody should do something to breathe life into the country's ailing economy, and increasing exports should be a priority in this sense. “The banks should reflect the declining interest rates on loans that they extend to exporters,” he added.
Turkey owes success in diversification of exports to eastern provinces

Underlining that the eastern provinces were an opening to neighboring markets, he said exporters from the eastern provinces have played a remarkable role in Turkey's efforts to diversify its export markets. In the first seven months of the year over the same months of 2008, exports from the southeastern province of Şırnak skyrocketed by 119 percent, while Mardin enjoyed a 34-percent increase in exports, and Adıyaman's exports rose by 29 percent in the given period, Büyükekşi said. “These are really encouraging figures for the future of our exports. We are very pleased to see that our exporters from the eastern provinces have achieved such a great success regardless of the crisis' troubles.” The TİM head said Hakkari's exports have risen to $181 million in 2008 from only $4 million in 2001. Büyükekşi expressed confidence that the region will prosper more than anticipated should it maintain the current export performance in the coming few years.