Turkey Mineral Resources and Industry

Turkey has numerous, although not always huge, mineral deposits. It was precisely the exploitation of underground resources that gave rise to the industrialization of the country in the 1930s. As for energy minerals, coal is extracted in the Ereğli-Zonguldak area, near the Black Sea, while lignite is present in various locations in western Anatolia; furthermore, the presence of uranium has been ascertained. Turkey has no shortage of oil, even if it is extracted in quantities completely insufficient for national needs (deposits are found in the south-eastern area in Garzan, Raman, Selmo, etc.). In 2018, the transanatolic gas pipeline (TANAP) was inaugurated, part of the corridor intended to convey natural gas from the Caspian Sea through Turkey to Europe. In 2017, the construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline began, between Russia and European Turkey through the Black Sea. Metallic ores include iron, which has allowed the emergence of a decent steel industry and which is mostly present in the interior of the ‘Anatolia (in Divriği, Hekimhan etc.). To iron ores are added those of copper, zinc and lead, mainly extracted from the Keban-Maden-Ergani basins, in the east of the country, while manganese is extracted in the Ereğli region. Relevant is the production of chromium ores (among the first places in the world) whose largest deposit is located in Guleman. Bauxite, magnesite, molybdenum, antimony, sulfur, mercury, pyrites, asbestos, salt, emery are also of some importance. Finally, boracite and sepiolite are typical of Turkeyor “sea foam” of Eskisehir. The production of electricity was also enhanced, which is still insufficient for the needs of industry, also thanks to a program of systematic exploitation of the local water resources. Large basins and multi-purpose dams were built (in 1989 the Atatürk dam on the Euphrates was inaugurated, one of the largest in the world and a symbol of the country’s modernization), used for both irrigation and energy production (dam on the Seyhan, on the Sakarya etc.). This dam, in addition to guaranteeing undoubted economic advantages, however, contributes to creating strong tensions and conflicts of interest with neighboring countries. In the last years of the twentieth century, Turkey established itself as an important producer of marble and silver. The industry, traditionally oriented towards satisfying the internal market through the exploitation of local resources, it has undergone a period of modernization and today operates in a context of competitiveness, on both internal and foreign markets.

According to businesscarriers, the largest complexes are those related to the processing of agricultural products and livestock, and generally their location corresponds to the production areas of raw materials. Food industries (sugar factories, canning plants, pasta factories, breweries), tobacco factories, tanneries, shoe factories and above all textile industries are distinguished. The latter, despite the generally low productivity of labor and plants, they continue to be sufficiently competitive on an international scale thanks to the large internal availability of raw materials at reduced prices, and the equally low cost of labor. In the textile sector, cotton mills clearly prevail, in addition to wool mills (Bursa is famous for yarns and fabrics in mohair), silk twisting and weaving plants, complexes for the production of rayon and synthetic fibers. The manufacture of carpets is also important, especially in the Smyrna region. Good progress was made in the steel sector, where the İskenderun (Alessandretta) plants were added to the Karabük and Ereğli plants. Each year approx. 15 million tons of cast iron and steel. The less important metallurgical industry works mainly copper and lead. The mechanical industry, specialized in assembly, is well diversified: it supplies motor vehicles (cars and industrial vehicles in Bursa and İstanbul) thanks to important joint-venture agreements with foreign companies; railway equipment (Sivas and Izmit); boats (shipyards in Izmir and İstanbul); and then again planes (Kayseri), tractors, household appliances, electrical equipment. The chemical sector (Karabük, İzmit) is undergoing great development, producing sulfuric acid, hydrochloric and nitric acid, caustic soda, nitrogen fertilizers, synthetic rubber, ammonia. Among the leading sectors, there are the petrochemicals (with the most important refineries in Batman, from which part an oil pipeline for İskenderun, Mersin, İzmit etc., which also process imported crude oil), those of cement, now sufficient for internal needs, paper, glass, ceramics etc. The once flourishing and very high quality craftsmanship, which expressed embroidery, filigree and other jewels, artistic works of various kinds, is now in a severe crisis and the quality of the products no longer reflects the traditional fame.

Turkey Mineral Resources