In addition to the global recession, the Russian-Ukrainian and Israeli-Palestinian wars have also hit trade in Istanbul’s Laleli, Merter and Osmanbey districts. Shop closures started in the regions where sales dropped by up to 60 percent.
According to the news of Mehmet Hanifi Gülel from Dünya newspaper; shop closures have started in Istanbul’s textile and apparel centers due to the recession in the world and the wars around Turkey.
While there is an increase in the number of vacated and rented shops in the regions, some companies are downsizing their large square meter shops. Gıyasettin Eyyüpkoca, President of Laleli Industrialists and Business People Association (LASIAD), who noted that trade in other textile and apparel centers, especially Laleli, has decreased by 50 to 60 percent, noted that shop evacuations have started in Laleli in the face of rents and heavy expense items.
Eyyüpkoca said that when the inflation environment in the country, energy costs and labor costs are added to this, those who do business in the region have difficulty in surviving, “Due to the falling business, the tradesmen of the region are no longer able to pay their shop rents. The natural consequence of this is closures. This is the same not only in Laleli but also in Merter, Osmanbey and Bayrampaşa.”
War reduced purchases from Russia
The repercussions of the Ukraine-Russia war have begun to be deeply felt in Laleli, which has long been known for its suitcase trade to Russia, especially in leather garments. LASIAD President Eyyüpkoca pointed out that there has been a serious decline in organized retail sales as the war continues and said, “There is a very serious decline in per capita spending in the world.
Unfortunately, this decline is more pronounced in Russia. The fact that there is no prediction as to when the war will stop also affects this. Again, there are very serious problems especially in our flights with Russia due to the embargo. Everyone who wants to connect to the world from Russia uses Turkey. Therefore, there are also flight problems related to airplanes arising from this.”
Israeli attacks make the region uneasy
Eyyüpkoca said that when all these problems combined with the global recession, the impact of the economic crisis began to be felt much more heavily, “We had a plane crisis with Russia before, but this only caused a slowdown in trade in that country.
Today, this is not the case,” he said. Eyyüpkoca stated that the crisis started in all export regions together with Russia and said, “Iran, Libya and Lebanon markets in our region are experiencing uneasiness.
The fact that Israel is attacking left and right is causing anxiety in the Gulf countries. All concerns and worries continue in the region. Poland, Romania and Moldova markets are negatively affected by the Russian War. With the effect of all these, there is a visible and palpable crisis in trade. When all of these come together, it becomes quite natural to empty shops in Laleli and other regions.”
Workshops started to close
Workshops operating in the textile and apparel sector in the region have also started to close down. Sector representatives state that the closures in workshops are around 20 percent, and companies that employ a high number of workers are downsizing by laying off workers. It is also stated that some producers have started to move their production to distant places outside Istanbul.
Suitcase trade declined by 46.8 percent
Eyyüpkoca pointed out that Turkey’s apparel exports decreased by nearly 20 percent and noted that there was a 60 percent decrease in the trade carried out with passengers from the region. Eyyüpkoca, who interpreted the increase in tonnage in the official export data to Russia as an insufficient rate, said, “This increase is not very important in a period when the country is in crisis and the whole world is closed.
If there had been an increase of up to thousands of percent to Russia, then it would have been a business.” While the share of only Russia and Ukraine in Laleli’s exports was around 70 percent, it is seen that the rate has dropped to 40 percent today. In the 10-month data of Turkey-wide shuttle trade, a 46.8 percent decline is noteworthy. 2023 January-October period shuttle trade was recorded as 2.1 billion dollars.