Turkey imported US$200.7 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2019, down by -3.2% since 2015 and down by -10% from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Turkish lira depreciated by -106% against the US dollar since 2015 and dropped by -14.7% from 2018 to 2019. Turkey’s weaker local currency makes Turkish imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Turkish lira.
Applying a continental lens, about half of Turkey’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners supplied almost a third of import sales to Turkey while another 6.6% worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentage shares came from Africa (2.6%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (also 2.6%), then Oceania (0.5%) led by Australia.
Turkey’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Turkey’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Turkey.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$41.2 billion (20.5% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $21.5 billion (10.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $15 billion (7.5%)
- Iron, steel: $14.7 billion (7.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $13.3 billion (6.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $11.6 billion (5.8%)
- Vehicles: $9.6 billion (4.8%)
- Organic chemicals: $5.4 billion (2.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $4.8 billion (2.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4.4 billion (2.2%)
Turkey’s top 10 imports accounted for well over two-thirds (70.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Two of the above categories expanded in cost from 2018 to 2019 namely pharmaceuticals (up 9.2%) then gems and precious metals (up 6%) led by jewelry and diamonds.
Leading the year-over-year decliners were Turkish imports of vehicles (down -30.6%), iron and steel (down -20.2%) and machinery including computers (down -16.5%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2019, Turkish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of fossil fuel-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$8.9 billion (down -29.9% from 2018)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $3.6 billion (down -17.9%)
- Petroleum gases: $1.4 billion (down -27.5%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $359.9 million (down -43.8%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $193.5 million (down -24.3%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $53.3 million (down -32.6%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $42.2 million (down -4.5%)
- Electrical energy: $40.6 million (down -28.8%)
- Peat: $12.9 million (down -0.9%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $9.2 million (up 191.5%)
Among these import subcategories, only Turkish purchases of tar pitch and coke (up 191.5%) increased from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of fossil fuel-related imports among Turkish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Turkish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Engines (diesel): US$2 billion (down -14.5% from 2018)
- Computers, optical readers: $1.7 billion (up 1.2%)
- Turbo-jets: $1.3 billion (down -18.1%)
- Piston engines: $1.2 billion (up 6.5%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.1 billion (down -3.2%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1 billion (down -1.9%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $977.6 million (down -10.3%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $820 million (down -9.6%)
- Piston engine parts: $811.7 million (down -16.7%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $720.1 million (down -18.8%)
Among these import subcategories, only Turkish purchases of piston engines (up 6.5%) and computers including optical readers (up 1.2%) increased from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Turkish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Turkish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical equipment.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$3 billion (down -6.9% from 2018)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $1 billion (down -7.2%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $964.7 million (down -3.1%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $952.3 million (down -15.6%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $841 million (down -8.3%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $830.4 million (down -2.4%)
- Electric motors, generators: $776.6 million (down -1.3%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $565.3 million (down -5.8%)
- Electric storage batteries: $506.9 million (up 2.1%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $488.4 million (down -30.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Turkish purchases of electric storage batteries (up 2.1%) increased from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electrical equipment-related imports among Turkish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Turkish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of iron and steel.
- Iron or steel scrap: US$5.6 billion (down -21.3% from 2018)
- Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $2.3 billion (down -2.4%)
- Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): $1.5 billion (down -40.9%)
- Flat-rolled other alloy steel products: $997.3 million (down -21.5%)
- Flat-rolled stainless steel items: $925.8 million (down -10.7%)
- Iron ferroalloys: $549.5 million (down -20%)
- Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated): $546.1 million (down -16.8%)
- Pig iron: $438.9 million (down -13.8%)
- Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $393.6 million (down -25%)
- Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: $211.2 million (down -11.9%)
Among these import subcategories, all Turkish purchases decreased from 2018 to 2019. Leading decliners were semi-finished iron or non-alloy steel products (down -40.9%), cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (down -25%) then flat-rolled other alloy steel products (down -21.5%).
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of iron or steel-related imports among Turkish businesses and consumers.
See also Top Turkish Trade Balances, Turkey’s Top 10 Exports and Turkey’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 4, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 4, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 4, 2020