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In the period of 1980-90 Turkey's export figures showed an average annual increase of 33% and the value of exports increased from $2.9 billion US to $12.9 billion US.

Between 1990-93 due to unfavourable political and economic conditions both at home and abroad a limited increase in exports was realized reaching only $15.3 billion US . The growth rate of exports for 1992 and 1993 was 8.3% and 4.3% respectively.

In 1994, in order to improve foreign trade and the balance of payments deficit, new export policies were put into force, such as: diversified export credit programs and free market conditions for the foreign exchange rate. As a result, exports reached $18.1 billion US, with an increase of 18.0% compared to the previous year.

On the other hand, there are very important factors which still adversely effect exports . Since the Gulf crisis with its economic embargo against Iraq, trade relations between the two countries have been seriously damaged hurting Turkey's export performance after 1989. While in 1988 Turkish exports to Iraq were $986 million US, they decreased to $141 thousand US in 1994. Subsequently, Iraq's share of Turkey's exports has dropped from 8.4% to 0.4 %.

The war in Bosnia also affected Turkish exporters in the area of transport, especially by high freight expenses and bureaucratic difficulties regarding trade with Europe.

Since 1980 Turkey's export figures have shown a remarkable change; while agricultural products dominated up to 1980, after this date, industrial products began to increase their share in the total value of exports adversely affecting the share of agricultural products. In 1980 agricultural products predominated in exports with a 56.7% share. They were followed by industrial products with a 36.3% and mining and quarrying products with a 6.8% share.

In 1994, the share of the agricultural sector was reduced to 13.6% with a value of $2.4 billion US. The share of industrial products in 1994 continued to grow and reached 84.9 %. This massive change in the industrial sector is related to the diversification of products.

Among industrial products, the textile and ready-to-wear industries have taken a 33.7% share of total exports with $6.1 billion US. Iron and steel products with a 11% share and a value of $2.01 billion US, are the second most important group in exports, followed by food and tobacco which have taken a 9.8% share. Electrical machinery and equipment, leather products, glass and ceramics, machines and mechanical equipments, road vehicles and parts and chemicals are other important export products. The total of these top 9 sectors accounts for 72.7% of Turkey's exports, equivalent to $13.1 billion US.

In the agricultural sector vegetal products take the largest share (12.0 %) with $2.16 billion US. In terms of value, fruits and industrial plants are the most important groups in the mentioned sector. Farming products are the second most important sub-sector among agricultural products with $244 million US and a 1.4% share.

Turkey's exports of mining and quarrying products reached $272 million US and this sector's share of the total is only 1.5 %. Quarrying products make up the majority of exports in the mentioned sector.

In ancient times Anatolia was on the main cross-road between the East and the West known as the "Silk Road". Today this geographical advantage still holds true by Turkey's being neighbour to the European, Balkan and Middle Eastern countries as well as the new Turkish Republics and the New Independent States. During the last few years, the well-known traditional trade route has become more significant with the political and socio-economic changes that have taken place and their effects on world trade.

Turkey shares the view of developing multi-sided trade in international economic relations on one hand, and trying to take maximum advantage of the contributions provided by regional integration on the other. Under this framework the "Customs Union" with the European Union put into force on 1.1.1996. Necessary arrangements in trade regulations are being prepared and adopted by the parliament for the new era. Also, efforts towards globalization were accelerated by acting as the founder member of the World Trade Organization Round Agreements which came into force beginning from 1.1.1995. On the other hand, Turkey is trying to develop its international relations under the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and the Organization For Economic Cooperation (ECO). Multilateral relations with the Islamic Countries are developed on the basis of the COMCEC (Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation) which has 52 members.

In 1994, of the total exports from Turkey, the OECD Countries took a 59.3% share with a value of $10.7 billion US. Among OECD members, exports to the EU were $8.2 billion US which is equal to 45.7% of total exports. Among the top ten markets for Turkey, six of them are from the OECD group and have a share of 48.8% with a value of $8.8 billion US . In this group, Germany, with its 21.7% share, is the major market for Turkey. Turkey's second largest market is the USA with a 8.4% share.

Islamic Countries took a share of 16.5% in 1994 with a value of $2.9 billion US. Among them the Gulf States took 7.4% and other Islamic Countries took a 9.1% share. Among the Islamic Countries Saudi Arabia (3.4 %), Iran (1.4 %), and Algeria (1.3 %) are among the top ten markets for Turkey.

Russia, with its 8.4% share, is the third largest market for Turkey. The New Independent States' share came to 7.8% in 1994. The ratio for the Turkish Republics was only 2.4 %. Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Malaysia are important markets in the Far East. 

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