Turkey shipped US$225.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021. That dollar amount reflects an 43.5% increase since 2017 and a 32.8% uptick from 2020 to 2021.
That figure also represents roughly 1.3% of overall global exports estimated at $17.503 trillion one year earlier during 2020.
Turkey’s 5 biggest customers for buying Turkish exports were Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Italy and Iraq. Collectively, that quintet of leading countries accounts for almost a third (31.2%) of overall Turkish export sales in 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 55.3% of Turkey’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 24.7% were sold to importers in Asia. Turkey shipped another 9.4% worth of goods to Africa, with 7.7% going to North America.
Smaller percentages were sold to Latin America (2.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand (0.6%).
Turkey’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Turkey’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. These are countries that imported the most Turkish shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Turkish exports.
- Germany: US$19.3 billion (8.6% of total Turkish exports)
- United States of America: $14.7 billion (6.5%)
- United Kingdom: $13.7 billion (6.1%)
- Italy: $11.5 billion (5.1%)
- Iraq: $11.1 billion (4.9%)
- Spain: $9.6 billion (4.3%)
- France: $9.1 billion (4.1%)
- Netherlands: $6.8 billion (3%)
- Israel: $6.4 billion (2.8%)
- Russia: $5.8 billion (2.6%)
- United Arab Emirates: $5.5 billion (2.4%)
- Romania: $5.2 billion (2.3%)
- Belgium: $4.9 billion (2.2%)
- Poland: $4.7 billion (2.1%)
- Egypt: $4.5 billion (2%)
- Bulgaria: $4 billion (1.8%)
- China: $3.7 billion (1.6%)
- Greece: $3.1 billion (1.4%)
- Morocco: $3 billion (1.3%)
- Ukraine: $2.9 billion (1.3%)
- Iran: $2.8 billion (1.2%)
- Libya: $2.8 billion (1.2%)
- Azerbaijan: $2.3 billion (1%)
- Syrian Arab Republic: $2.1 billion (0.9%)
- Serbia: $2 billion (0.9%)
Well over two-thirds (71.7%) of Turkish exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing importers of products from Turkey were the United Arab Emirates (up 94.2% from 2020), Greece (up 73.2%), Libya (up 67.5%), Bulgaria (up 50.1%), Serbia (up 47.5%), Morocco (up 44.8%), then the United States of America (up 44.6%).
Countries Causing the Greatest Trade Deficits for Turkey
Overall Turkey incurred a -$46.1 billion deficit on all products for 2021. That amount is a -7.5% decrease from the -$49.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Turkey incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$28.6 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Russia: -$23.2 billion
- India: -$6.6 billion
- South Korea: -$6.6 billion
- Japan: -$3.9 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$3.2 billion
- Brazil: -$2.8 billion
- Malaysia: -$2.7 billion
- Germany: -$2.4 billion
- Switzerland: -$1.8 billion
Among Turkey’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Turkish deficits with Russia (up 74%), India (up 68.3%) and Malaysia (up 64.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
In addition, Turkey went from posting a $788.1 million surplus in 2020 to enduring a -$3.2 billion deficit for 2021.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Turkey’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Turkey to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating the Biggest Trade Surpluses for Turkey
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Turkey incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Iraq: US$9.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- United Kingdom: $8.1 billion
- Israel: $4.3 billion
- Spain: $3.3 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $3.1 billion
- Egypt: $2.31 billion
- Netherlands: $2.26 billion
- Morocco: $2.1 billion
- Libya: $1.9 billion
- Syrian Arab Republic: $1.9 billion
Among Turkey’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Turkish surpluses with Azerbaijan (up 34.5%), Israel (up 21.8%) and the Syrian Arab Republic (up 18.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
United Arab Emirates’ trade with Turkey went from a -$2.8 billion deficit in 2020 to a $3.1 billion surplus for 2021. Similarly, Libya’s trade with Turkey resulted in a -$21.2 million deficit in 2020 contrasted with the $1.9 billion surplus one year later.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Turkey’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Turkey to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Turkey’s Major Companies Servicing Turkish Trading Partners
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Turkish companies.
- Koç Group (industrial conglomerate)
- Sabanci Holding (automotive, banking)
- Turkcell (mobile phones)
- Enka (construction services)
- Anadolu Efes (brewery, non-alcoholic drinks)
Global trade intelligence firm Zepol lists the following firms exporting from Turkey.
- Anadolu Dokum San (cast iron/steel articles)
- Cevikler Dis Ticaret (monumental/building stone)
- Evimteks Dis Tic Ve Paz (woven fabrics, facial tissues)
- MCE Cargo (steam condensers, plywood)
- Ulus Metal San Ve Tic (chain sprockets, transmission components, auto parts)
See also Top Turkish Trade Balances, Turkey’s Top 10 Exports and Turkey’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on March 22, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 22, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 22, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 22, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on March 22, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 22, 2022