Our country was shaken by two major earthquakes on February 6. We lost nearly 50 thousand people in the earthquakes that affected 11 provinces and left a heavy destruction behind. After the great disaster, we witnessed an exemplary solidarity not only at home but also on an international scale. I would like to thank all the countries, non-governmental organizations, and everyone who made an individual effort abroad, who rushed to help in difficult times.
I would like to underline the solidarity and cooperation of you, our business partners, in this process. While you were with our earthquake victims with your donations, you showed understanding for temporary disruptions in production and delays in orders. I thank you all. International solidarity means a lot to us. I think that this solidarity is good for our world, which is tired of regional conflicts and crises.
10% of Turkey’s total clothingand apparel production capacity is located in the earthquake zone. The share of the provinces affected by the earthquake in our clothing and apparel exports is at the level of 2.6 percent. Despite two major earthquakes, most of our facilities in the region remained standing. As of March, production in some of our provinces has almost returned to normal. In other provinces, production started with low capacity. Although most of our factories in these provinces are ready for production, it will take time for our employees to return to work. Because we cannot and do not expect people who have experienced a severe trauma to return to work. In these provinces, we have focused on solving the temporary accommodation needs of our employees and social support programs rather than production. I would also like to thank ourbusiness partners for their donations to solve the housing problem.
The temporary decrease in the capacity of our businesses in the earthquake zone does not mean that our companies will not be able to fulfill their obligations. Our businesses were operating at an average of 80 percent capacity before the earthquake. Therefore, we have more than enough capacity to produce orders after the earthquake. Despite this fact, we are following with sadness the deliberate claims that Turkey will not be able to fulfill the orders in clothing and apparel production. I think that we can best respond to these unfounded and incompatible claims by continuing our cooperation with you, our esteemed partners. With the belief that you share the same understanding, I offer my love and respect to all of you.
Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association (IHKIB)/ Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM)President