Turkey's Sakarya province, considered the country's industrial hub, is one of the cities that were most profoundly affected by the destruction of the Marmara earthquake on Aug. 17, 1999.
In the wake of the devastation, Sakarya's economy has grown tenfold, expanding in the last 18 years with transformative urban development and industrial breakthroughs. Sakarya suffered extensive damage during the 1999 Marmara earthquake, which has also been described as "the disaster of the century."
Since the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, new settlement areas have been established as a result of projects that were initiated after the disaster, while the business world almost sprang to its feet with incentives provided by industrialists and investors.
Having attracted attention with not only its rapid urban development but also its major industrial breakthroughs realized in the 18 years following the earthquake, Sakarya is one of Turkey's most promising provinces as a hub for Turkey's domestic automobile production and booming employment opportunities in the sector. Moreover, Sakarya is a center for logistical developments and population growth, two factors which have also contributed to its economic growth.
Chairman of the Sakarya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SATSO) Mahmut Kösemusul said that the chamber of commerce's main purpose is to ensure that the city develops effectively, both socially and economically. Kösemusul stated that the business world has realized very important achievements and major projects since the earthquake, stressing that all precautions should be taken in Sakarya to ensure safety in the event that there is another earthquake of such magnitude.
"Considering the development of our province in a social and economic sense, our economy has grown roughly tenfold. We previously organized three industrial zones, now we have 10," Kösemusul said, adding that they will try to apply the vision of a very large national production base in the near future and Sakarya will become known as the "locomotive city" of Turkey with the future projects that will be launched in regard to the country's 2023 vision. Pointing out that the city has also grown in a social sense, he noted that with the organized industrial zones planned to be built in the middle and short term, the employment and population rates in Sakarya will also increase.
A major supporter
of Turkish exportsAccording to exports' data for the month of July released by the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM), Sakarya recorded the highest increase in city-based exports. The province saw a 175 percent surge, contributing some $461 million to overall nationwide exports.The automotive sector, the city's major industrial source of revenue, recorded an increase of almost 200 percent on a monthly basis. Other export items include fresh fruit and vegetables, leather and leather products, machinery and machinery components, acclimation products, nuts, ships and yachts.
Additionally, the goods manufactured in Sakarya are exported to many parts of the world, from America to the Far East, Europe and Africa. As for the increases in exports by country, Europeans have maintained their demand for products from the province. For example, Sakarya's exports to Germany - the top export destination of Turkish goods - saw a rise of 286 percent despite the recent row between Turkey and Germany. Another important European market, Austria, has registered a 256 percent increase in imports from the city.
On the other hand, Turkey's exports to Qatar, which has been under a blockade since early June as a result of the crisis between it and the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, continued to surge in July as well, recording a 222 percent increase. Asian countries were also among the top destinations for exported goods from Sakarya. Exports to China, Hong Kong and Japan saw 159 percent, 1,333 percent and 675 percent increases, respectively.