Turkish exports unfazed by euro crisis, Arab Spring, study claims
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
An employee sprays water near containers at a port in Lisbon on Jan 13. Portugal and Slovakia were the two European Union members which saw decline in Turkish imports.Despite predictions of a gloomy year for trade, Turkey emerged from 2011 unscathed in terms of its export performance, according to a research report released Feb. 10.
Analyzing the past year’s export performance, economists at the Bahçeşehir University Center for Economic and Social Research (Betam) found that the eurozone crisis had “nearly no effect,” while the Arab Spring’s effect was “extremely limited.”
Exports to Libya and Syria retreated considerably in 2011, however Egypt’s share in exports rose, despite the political chaos that followed the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.
In the meantime, exports to EU members rose by 19 percent compared to 2010, reaching $62.4 billion. The EU’s share in Turkey’s overall exports stood unchanged at 46.2 percent. The figure was 56 percent only five years ago. In the same period, the share of foreign sales to the Near and Middle East region rose from 14 percent to 20.7 percent.
The Arab Spring negatively affected Turkey’s exports to North Africa, whose share in total exports fell to 5 percent last year, from 6.2 percent in 2010. The region’s five countries imported $6.7 billion worth of goods from Turkey last year, compared to $7 billion in 2010.
The Libya effect
This decline was mainly due to the long and destructive civil war in Libya, which saw imports from Turkey fall to $748 million, from $1.9 billion in 2010. This decline was more than offset by the rise in exports to Egypt and Tunisia, however. These two countries imported $2.76 billion and $803 million worth of goods from Turkey last year.
Regarding the Near and Middle East region, exports to Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen declined last year. In 2010, Turkish foreign sales to neighboring Syria totaled $1.8 billion. Last year, the figure dropped to $1.6 billion.
“Considering the deterioration in relations with Syria especially in the past few months, exports are expected to decline further this year,” Betam researchers said.
Meanwhile, exports to Iraq surged by 37.8 percent last year, reaching $8.3 billion. Foreign sales to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, Georgia and Israel also increased, Betam said.
Despite a crippling eurozone crisis, Turkey’s exports to 27 EU members rose to $62.4 billion last year, from $52.7 billion in 2010. In the period, exports to Germany rose by an impressive 21.6 percent, reaching $14 billion. Foreign sales to Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and France also rose.
The two EU members which saw decline in Turkish imports were Portugal and Slovakia.