17 free zones in Turkiye provided $11.4 billion of support to $254.2 billion of country exports.
According to the information compiled by the AA correspondent, 4.5% of the country’s total exports in 2022 came from free zones.
The free zone providing the highest export was Aegean with $2 billion 491 million. Mersin Free Zone took the second place with a contribution of $1 billion 500 million, Bursa Free Zone took the third place with $1 billion 217 million, and the European Free Zone took the fourth place with $1 billion 194 million.
Established in Izmir, the Aegean Free Zone accounted for 17% of the city’s 2022 exports of $13.9 billion, and 21% of all free zones’ exports.
Aegean Free Zone, with its export success, surpassed 67 provinces, including Antalya, Tekirdag and Kahramanmaras, and exported more than the annual exports of each.
Growth over 10% next year
Aegean Free Zone Founder and Operator Inc. (ESBAS) Chief Executive Faruk Guler told Anadolu Agency (AA) that 186 companies operate in the free zone established on an area of 2.5 million square meters.
Guler underlined that although there are larger free zones in terms of area and number of companies, they rank first in exports, and said:
“Since our establishment, we have done a lot of research on ‘what kind of companies should be in the Aegean Free Zone’ and we have traveled the world many times. As a result, companies that make high-level parts in the aviation sector and automotive sector have developed. What matters more than the number of companies lies in the fact that companies are constantly able to sell their work to the world’s most advanced companies. This is about the ability of companies. We have attached great importance to this from the very beginning. Companies with R&D, technology, technology and employment, and export capability should have come here. We have come to these days by choosing companies that can do this at the highest level.”
Expressing that they increased their trade volume by 13% in 2022, Guler said, “We expect a growth of over 10% next year, we have made all our business plans accordingly.”
Noting that the research institutions in the world predicted that there will be no growth in 2023, and even that there will be a shrinkage in developed countries, Guler noted that despite this, they expect a growth of over 10%.
Export unit price and employment
Faruk Guler emphasized that 25% of the employment of free zones in Turkiye is in the Aegean, and said that their employment has reached 24,200.
Stating that they are sensitive about employment, Guler said, “We have to create employment today. It is much more important especially in times of shrinkage. When we look at the population growth, Turkiye needs to grow by 5% so that we can only find jobs for new ones.”
Many global companies also produce in ESBAS, where 186 companies from sectors such as automotive, food, software, aerospace and defense, textile and electronics are located.
Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz