Turkey's top import and exports

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Turkey exports 177 billion dollars worth of goods each year and is currently ranked the 29th largest export economy in the world. The country has a negative trade balance of minus 25 billion dollars after deducting annual imports of 202 billion dollars from its export total. Between 2013 and 2018, Turkey managed to increase its exports by 14.5 billion dollars.

The economy of Turkey is defined as an emerging market economy according to the IMF, with a GDP of 761 billion dollars and a GDP per capita of 9,225 dollars according to World Bank figures.

Turkey’s Top Exports Here is a breakdown of the most important products exported by Turkey, both commodities and other notable exports. Commodity Exports Crude petroleum. 3.65 billion dollars went to Refined petroleum, 3.42 billion dollars went for Raw iron bars, 3.33 billion dollars went for Gold, and 3.21 billion dollars went for Hot rolled iron Other Notable Exports include Cars which raked in 12.9 billion dollars, Delivery trucks generated 5.38 billion dollars, Vehicle parts brought in 4.63 billion dollars, Jewelry raked in 4.29 billion dollars and Non knit women’s suits generated 2.94 billion dollars. 

The top five export destinations from Turkey are Germany with 16.6 billion dollars, the United Kingdom with 11.9 billion dollars, Italy with 10.1 billion dollars, the United States with 8.57 billion dollars, and Iraq with 8.35 billion dollars. 

Turkey’s Top Imports

 Here is a breakdown of the most important products imported by Turkey, both commodities and other notable imports. 

Commodity Imports: Refined petroleum gulped 12.4 billion dollars, Gold gulped 11.3 billion dollars, Scrap iron with 6.47 billion dollars, Petroleum gas with 3.72 billion dollars, and Coal briquettes with 3.53 billion dollars. 

 Other Notable Imports like Vehicle parts gulped 6.45 billion dollars, Cars gulped 6.11 billion dollars, Broadcasting equipment gulped 2.78 billion dollars, Propylene polymers gulped 2.78 billion dollars, and Packaged Medicaments gulped 2.53 billion dollars. 

 Details on Turkey’s Exports and Imports

Gold:  Turkey is the world’s 17th largest exporter of gold, with a 1.05 percent share of an annual market worth 305 billion dollars. More than half of Turkey’s gold goes to two countries only, namely the United Arab Emirates taking 27 percent, and the United Kingdom collecting 24.5 percent. 

Raw Iron Bars: Turkey is the biggest exporter of raw iron bars in the world. It controls 18.3 percent of the annual export market worth 18.2 billion dollars. The country’s closest rival, with a 7.32 percent market share, is Italy. 

Key export destinations for Turkey’s raw iron bar exports are Yemen with 12.7 percent, Israel with 10 percent, Singapore with 5.85 percent, the United States with 5.76 percent, and Hong Kong with 5.47 percent. 

Wheat Flours: Turkey leads the way in wheat flour exports, enjoying a 20.8 percent share of an annual export market worth 4.85 billion dollars. Kazakhstan is Turkey’s closest export rival with a 9.25 percent share. 

However, Turkey maintains its competitive edge as a key player of grain in this region with two modern flour mills operating close to important seaports. 

Citrus Fruits:  Spain is the leading exporter of citrus fruits with a 27 percent market share, while Turkey is the fourth largest exporting country with a 6.17 percent share of the annual export market worth 15.2 billion dollars. Russia receives 32.7 percent of Turkey’s citrus fruits, with Iraq receiving 14.6 percent and Ukraine with 9.61 percent trailing in 2nd and 3rd place. 

Interesting Facts About Turkey Despite most of the Turkish population is Muslim is that it has been recognized as a secular nation rather than a Muslim country since 1927. The city of Istanbul spans two continents, with 97 percent in Asia and 3 percent of the city officially part of Europe. Istanbul is also not the capital of Turkey it is Ankara.

Turkey imported 219.4 billion dollars worth of goods from around the globe in 2020, up by 10.5 percent since 2016 and up by 9.3 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Turkish lira depreciated by minus 132.6 percent against the US dollar since 2016 and declined by minus 23.8 percent from 2019 to 2020. Turkey’s weaker local currency makes Turkish imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Turkish lira.

Applying a continental lens, about half of Turkey’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners supplied almost a third of import sales to Turkey while another 6.1 percent worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentage shares of 3.3 percent came from Africa, Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean got 2.8 percent, then Oceania got 0.2 percent led by Australia.

Given Turkey’s population of 84.2 million dollars in 2020, the average value of Turkish imports per person was 2,600 dollars.

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Turkey’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Turkey.

Mineral fuels including oil: 28.9 billion dollars with 13.2 percent of total imports

Gems, precious metals: 26.6 billion dollars which accounts for 12.1 percent.


Machinery including computers: 25.2 billion dollars which are 11.5 percent. 

Electrical machinery, and equipment: 17.1 billion dollars representing 7.8 percent

Vehicles: 15.3 billion dollars which stand at 7 percent

Iron, steel: 15.1 billion dollars which are 6.9 percent. 

Plastics, plastic articles: 11.7 billion dollars which account for 5.3 percent

Organic chemicals: 5.9 billion dollars accounting for 2.7 percent

Pharmaceuticals: 5 billion dollars accounting for 2.3 percent

Optical, technical, and medical apparatus: 4.7 billion dollars which accounts for 2.2 percent. 

Turkey’s top 10 imports accounted for well over two-thirds or 70.9 percent of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Leading the cost increases of imported products from 2019 to 2020 were gems and precious metals up by 99.7 percent led by gold. In second place were vehicles up by 58.5 percent and machinery including computers up by 17.3 percent.

The sole year-over-year decline was for Turkish imports of mineral fuels which were down by minus 29.8 percent weighed down by Turkey’s lower purchases of refined oil and coal.

Top Turkish Trade Balances

Gold, iron or steel scrap, mobile phones, and coal were major factors behind Turkey’s highest trade deficits by product. Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and China represent the trade partners with which Turkey incurred the highest negative trade balances.

Turkey’s total trade balance for all products equaled a minus 49.9 billion dollars deficit in 2020, down by minus 50 percent from the minus 99.9 billion dollars in red ink during 2013. Year over year, Turkey’s minus 49.9 billion dollars trade deficit for 2020 represents a minus 68.9 percent increase from its minus 29.6 billion dollars deficit one year earlier during 2019.

To put Turkey’s most recent minus 49.9 billion dollars trade deficit metric into perspective, the country’s total external debt encompassing both public and private red ink equaled minus 435.1 billion in September 2020. Consequently, Turkey’s external debt is the equivalent of roughly 9 times its negative international trade balance.


Top Turkish Trade Balances by Product and Country

The following 10 major products generated a surplus subtotal of 22.2 billion dollars for Turkey in its global trade during 2020. Metrics listed in this video highlight Turkey’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners.

Trucks: 3.3 billion dollars up by 19.9 percent since 2013

Jewelry: 2.8 billion dollars up by 4.9 percent

Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: 2.5 billion dollars down by minus 46.8 percent. 

Women’s clothing not knit or crochet: 2.3 billion dollars up by 26.7 percent

Woven carpets or textile floor coverings: 2.22 billion dollars up by 20.1 percent

T-shirts, vests: 2.16 billion dollars down by minus 30.6 percent

Jerseys, pullovers: 86 billion dollars up by 42.1 percent

Cars: 1.7 billion dollars reversing a minus 2.3 billion dollars deficit in 2013

Miscellaneous furniture: 1.62 billion dollars up by 70.7 percent

Refrigerators, freezers: 1.616 billion dollars up by 12.9 percent

Exported Turkish goods that generated the greatest percentage improvements in surpluses since 2013 were: trucks up by 70.7 percent, jewelry up by 42.1 percent, iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods up by 26.7 percent, unknit and non crocheted women’s clothing up by 20.1 percent, woven textile floor coverings including carpets with 19.9 percent then knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests up by 12.9 percent.

Turkey’s Top Trading Partners

The Republic of Turkey is strategically located at an intersection between Western Asia and Southeastern Europe. The transcontinental nation shares its borders with eight countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Turkey shipped 169.5 billion dollars worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects an 18.8 percent increase since 2016 but a minus 0.9 percent drop from 2019 to 2020. That figure also represents roughly 0.9 percent of overall global exports estimated at 18.709 trillion dollars one year earlier in 2019.

Applying a continental lens, 55.7 percent of Turkey’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 26 percent were sold to Asian importers. Turkey shipped another 9 percent worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages of 6.9 percent went to North America, Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean got 1.7 percent then Oceania led by Australia, Marshall Islands, and New Zealand got 0.7 percent. 


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