Children’s clothing industry.. Syrians fear instability in Turkey
The prevailing Turkish political climate has affected Syrians in Turkey, including refugees under the “temporary protection” law or those granted Turkish citizenship. Although most Syrian industrialists were granted citizenship for their contribution to the country’s economy, many of them suffer from instability.
Enab Baladi visited the 40th Istanbul International Fair of Children’s Clothing Manufacturers, where he investigated the status of Syrian manufacturers participating in the exhibition and their future outlook on the situation of Syrian traders in Turkey.
For export only
Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011, Syrian refugees have flocked to Turkey in different categories, workers and factory owners who saw in Turkey a stable way to maintain their trade.
Turkey’s location and global trade center contributed to the opening of Syrian traders to new markets, which brought mutual benefits to them and the Turkish market, which over the years has become one of the world’s strongest economies.
Syrian industrialists and garment factory owners have strengthened exports, where they are the only and primary way to sell their goods, amid the dominance of several Turkish garment companies in the market there, according to them, by participating in Turkish exhibitions that attract nationalities from several countries.
Fahd Makki, the owner of a children’s clothing factory that is participating in the Fair in Istanbul for the ninth time in a row, told Enab Baladi, “The importance of the fair lies in attracting many nationalities and creating new markets and customers, thanks to its industrial and commercial importance in the world.”
He explained that his factory is almost entirely focused on the foreign market, despite the current export difficulties reflected in inflation and the high cost of products, and the factory has been affected by the loss of the Syrian workforce, which makes up 90 percent of the total production. number of workers, after the wave of immigration and the “tightening” of the laws that apply to them.
On the other hand, Bashar Jaroudi, a Syrian participant in the exhibition and the owner of a children’s clothing company founded in Syria in 1995, said that his participation in the exhibition aims to win new customers on the one hand, and on the other hand to meet old customers in order to show them new models .
Bashar emphasized that his company only sells abroad, due to the local market’s need for cheap products offered by large Turkish companies such as “LC Waikiki”, explaining that his company’s customers are not limited to Arabs, but come from several nationalities.
Exports contribute to the introduction of foreign currency that supports the reserves of the central bank.
At the beginning of this year, the Turkish newspaper “Turkey” announced that the investments of Syrian entrepreneurs in Turkey exceeded ten billion US dollars.
The newspaper talked about the investments of Syrian businessmen in Turkey, and their contribution to exports exceeded three billion US dollars.
The head of the Association of Arab Entrepreneurs and Industrialists (ASYAD), Abdel Ghafour Saleh Asfour, told the newspaper at the time: “Last year, we supported Turkish exports with more than three billion dollars, and we exported to 50 countries.”
Syrian businessmen also provide employment opportunities for 450,000 to 500,000 people in Turkey, a large proportion of whom are Turks.
By March 2021, the number of Syrian companies in Turkey reached 20,000 small and medium-sized companies, and by last January, Syrian-owned companies had contributed to the employment of 500,000 workers, including Turks, according to a report published by the Turkish newspaper “Takvim”. , last May.
Are industrialists leaving Turkey?
Hate speech by officials and politicians against refugees in Turkey has escalated since the beginning of this year, considering the presence of refugees in Turkey as a “pressure card” in the upcoming presidential elections.
Legal restrictions on granting tourist residence or “Kamlika” to newly arrived Syrians, and the transfer of “Kamlika” from one country to another, have encouraged some Syrians to think about a new journey in search of more stable conditions in another country, and to escape from the spiral of identity documents and racist statement, including industrialists. Most of their workers are Syrians.
Egypt has been one of the favorite destinations for Syrian refugees and business owners, according to Enab Baladi.
The owner of the children’s clothing company “Al-Malak” Ismail said during his fourth participation in the exhibition: “We are affected by the migration of Syrians in terms of workers by more than 70%, and we do not feel stable because of the political situation in Turkey, as we studied going to Egypt or Dubai, in case conditions worsen.” worse.”
For his part, the industrialist, Bashar Jaroudi, indicated that his company was not affected by the migration of Syrians in the last period, despite the fact that all his workers are among them, justifying it by the fact that the legal issues surrounding all his workers are complete, housing and work .
Jaroudi believes that the presence of the Turkish opposition, which constantly raises the question of the return of Syrians to the Turkish street, does not allow the stability of the Syrian trader or worker, hoping that the situation will change after the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey.
On September 18 last year, Enab Baladi discussed in a dossier with experts and researchers the transformation that the Turkish economy experienced before and after asylum in Syria, along with the extent of the reality of fears circulating about the effects of the absence of Syrian labor on the Turkish economy.
At that time, the economic researcher of the “Omran” Center, Muhammad al-Abdullah, ruled out the exit of the category of owners of capital and industrial expertise who localized their investments in Turkey and received relief from the Turkish government.
He attributed this to the costs of moving to another country, as well as the reluctance to lose the network of relationships established since 2012, as well as the fact that the largest percentage of Syrian investors obtained Turkish citizenship, according to the researcher.
The number of Syrians staying in Turkey under “temporary protection” continues to decrease, according to the latest statistics published by the Main Presidency of the Turkish Immigration Department, on December 12, reaching three million 561 thousand and 883 people, while on September 8 it was three million .And 655 thousand and 489 people.
Istanbul children’s clothing exhibition
The 40th Istanbul International Mother, Baby and Child Products Exhibition (CBME) kicked off between December 7 and 10, with the participation of more than 1,100 brands from 136 countries, within an exhibition space estimated at 42,000 square meters.
According to official data, the exhibition, in its current edition, was visited by more than 16,000 visitors during its duration, and the participants exhibited their new products and fashion for the upcoming autumn and summer season.
Products offered by the companies included clothing for infants and children (1-16 years), pajamas and socks, shoes, maternity and mother’s clothing, baby care and nutrition products, toys and bicycles, children’s safety and transportation equipment, in addition to children’s furniture.
During a symposium held alongside the exhibition, the UK’s leading fashion analysis company, WGSN, predicted the upcoming autumn and winter children’s fashion, with its colors turning to “soft colors”, such as green tea, muted blue tones and nature drawings.
The symposium presented the latest innovations in children’s fashion, the main colors of the upcoming season, graphics and patterns, the consumer habits of customers and the rise of e-commerce.
The participation of Syrians was notable, as Enab Baladi followed more than 50 Syrian companies, most of which are participating for the third time at the exhibition, which created a competitive atmosphere among the Syrian participants, and “proved their presence in the textile market. ”, as one of the Syrian participants described it.