Some 35 members representing 350 grocery chains run by Turkish guest workers (Gastarbeiter) in Europe have established the European-Turkish Retailers' Association, aiming to boost their current market share.
Mustafa Altunbilek, head of the Turkish Retailers Federation (TPF), said the 35 founding members come from 11 European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany and the U.K.
Altunbilek said the association represents a 15-billion-euro market, and stressed that they aim to spread operations in 30 countries and reach 100 members.
He noted that compared to giant brands, grocery chains in Europe were yet to be institutionalized.
"Once they have a problem, they have to solve it on their own," he said.
"We will create facilities for logistical storage and carry out joint purchases. The association is also going to solve problems that members might experience when purchasing from Turkey."
Altunbilek said around 90,000 people were employed by the local groceries.
"Citizens from different countries also work in these groceries. Since labor is costly in the continent, they also hire part-time employees. We are planning to establish an academy to train employees," he noted.
Erkan Türkoğlu, the manager of Yayla Agro Food, one of the association members, said local retailers, wholesalers, and distributors in Europe come together once a year under the leadership of Turkish Retailers Association.
"The competition in Europe is much bigger than in Turkey. Only one market chain is making a turnover of over 50 billion euros. New members from Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland will join us in the coming days," Türkoğlu said, adding that they aim to grow the 15-billion-euro market, shared by 5,000 Turkish groceries in Europe, by 10 percent by the end of 2018.