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    The shoe industry, which began to appear as a small-size industry in 1950, is now a well-developed industry. Especially in the 1980s significant investments on machinery parks were made and thus 15 % of the sector has completed its industrialization process. In the sector 70 % of the production isrealized by semi-mechanized production processes and 15 % of production is almost hand-made.

    The sector employs about 300,000 workers, 20,000 of these are employed in the industry, the rest work in semi-mechanized and/or hand- made shoe workshops. Most of the companies are concentrated in Istanbul and Izmir, where there are almost 40,000 to 50,000 shoemaking companies. Almost 50 % of the total number of companies are active in Istanbul. Konya, Ankara, Gaziantep, Manisa and Denizli, Adana, Malatya and Çorum (Iskilip) are the other important shoe production centers.

    The production capacity of the 33 leading companies in the sector is 328,100 pairs daily. In addition, there are many small and medium-size establishments in the sector. Turkey's shoe production was 85.5 million pairs in 1985; this number reached 161 million pairs in 2000. Almost 28 % of the production consists of leather shoes. Also, there has been a rapid increase in the manufacture of plastic shoes and slippers.

    The footwear sector relies on Turkish-made shoe production machinery as well as shoe parts. The share of the shoe parts industry in the total shoe industry production is around 5 %. Production is very rich from the perspective of variety. 30 % of the production inputs are imported. The soles, the heels, casting molds and the welt of the shoes are exported. The shoe parts industry is localized in İzmir and the Aegean region, Konya, Gaziantep and mainly in İstanbul. Military boots, work and safety shoes industries in Turkey have developed very fast in recent years. These sectors are producing according to international standards, and shoes with the CE mark are exported to European countries. The footwear sector closely follows the latest trends in the fashion world. Turkish shoe companies prepare their own collections for every season according to fashion trends both in Turkey and in the world.

    The industry is now concentrating its efforts on training and design . In this context, with the initiative of shoe industry, the Turkish Shoe Industry Research, Development and Education Foundation was established in 2001. In order to meet the lack of qualified personel in the shoe design, a new department of education, " The Shoe Design Department" has been opened at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, which offers two-year courses. In addition to these, various competitions are being organized in order to discover new talent in the field of design.

    Source: Under secretariat for Foreign Trade

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