Turkish exporters received some uplifting news last month, as Russian authorities announced a partial lifting of the country’s ban on certain agricultural exports, introduced in the wake of Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian border last year.
However, exporters have refused to stand still during the standoff, exploring opportunities in alternative markets, including in East Asia and the Middle East, suggesting that a return to the norm is by no means certain.
“Our newest market for apples is India,” revealed Cevdet Cekok, CEO of exporter Cekok. “We have also begun to export early Gala apples to the Middle East, which is the fastest growing market at the moment. We are equally starting to ship to Africa. I think figs and apples have especially good potential in Asia and the Middle East.”
The instability engulfing Turkey’s neighbours, not least Syria, has affected trade in the Middle East, as well as across the world. However, Turkish firms are arguably the best placed to fill any gaps.
“Companies are hesitating to work with these countries, as they face many problems in transporting goods by truck and collecting payments,” he said. “On the other hand, this situation creates an advantage for Turkish companies, which can reach markets like Iran and Syria more easily than many competitors.”