Turkish efforts to diversify trade partners, which have been ongoing following the 2008 global financial crisis, stalled in 2014 amid regional conflicts.
Since the financial crisis that erupted in the USA in 2008 before affecting the world economy, the Turkish government and business groups have embarked on a campaign to diversify trading partners and decrease Turkey’s dependence on a limited number of export markets. But political tensions in Turkey’s region have impeded Turkish efforts to branch out into new trade markets. The uprisings that began in Arab countries back in 2011 dealt a blow to Turkish exports to those markets.
Almost half of Turkey’s exports go to the EU, while imports from EU countries constitute nearly 40 percent of Turkish imports. In addition, exports to the EU have been increasing for over a year, according to foreign trade figures released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).
In 2014, there were four significant developments that took a toll on Turkish exports: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) advance through northern Iraq, the Syrian civil war, the Russian economic crisis and the turmoil in Ukraine. These conflicts did not just damage potential exporting markets for Turkey but are also likely to deal a blow to Turkey’s relations with its existing trade partners.