2015 was a difficult year for Turkey just like many other European countries. Especially in terms of economy, things had been challenging. The economic activities in Turkey largely depend on largely politics amongst others. I don’t know if this is true for USA or Europe, too.
Let’s just remember what happened in Turkey in 2015.
Maybe this way I can provide some assistance to our European friends who are curious as to the developments in Turkey.
Last year, there had been very few investments in new machines in our industry. Some ten multi-unit, wide configuration offset printing machines were purchased and most of these investments were made by folding carton companies. And many (no one really knows the number) second hand offset and web machines have entered the Turkish market. If we don’t count the web offset, all sheeted offset presses were purchased by commercial printers and there is a good reason for that. There is an aggressive price competition in Turkish offset market and print buyers apply great price pressure. Printers working with lower prices can find very good machines in Europe that cost almost only ¼ of those prices. Of course, this makes high-priced new machines no longer viable options.
It is clear that in line with the global trends, digital print will eventually beat commercial offset, but when, we cannot know for sure. Particularly those sheeted inkjet printing systems installed in offset (Fujifilm, Heidelberg, Komori etc.) will continue to threaten the commercial offset.
Growth continues in folding carton and flexible packaging areas. Turkey continues to import the best technologies in Europe and this investment channel will grow even more. It is because we need more labels and packaging compared to Europe. Retail market on the other hand continues to grow.
Suppliers of the Turkish printing industry attained their 2015 goals. Needless to say, it is important how realistic those goals were. Yet, those who were cognizant of the atmosphere, didn’t run into any surprises.
Turkey had two general elections in 2015 and a single-party rule was inevitable for a stable economy and politics. The second election ensured that stability and the time leading up to the second election had been calm. The interim government did a good job. Investments in many areas continue at full speed. The third airport, Izmit Gulf Bridge, and the third bridge are only a couple of examples in addition to countless new roads, hospitals and housing developments. The projects continued throughout 2015 and will be completed soon to give another boost to Turkish economy.
Terror has been the scourge of Turkey for the past 30 years, but we have reached the final step in the fight against terrorism that have targeted especially Southeastern Anatolia. In a couple of months, there will be no terrorists or weapons left threatening the people and the government will make every inch of Turkish soil safe.
Last month, we hosted FESPA Eurasia. The number of visitors from other countries dropped and many cited terror as a reason. However, 95% of our lands are completely safe and perfectly guarded from terror attacks. In the few towns where the security forces work to purge from terrorism, there are no one other than the terrorists and the police forces.
Turkey had shown an admirable attitude with respect to the refugees. It is currently hosting and taking care of millions of Syrian refugees. Our government is protecting all of them. EU, although only to an extent, opened its doors to those refugees that wanted to go Europe, but millions will continue to stay in Turkey. The budget allocated by the EU for these people can only be a small part of what Turkey has spent for them so far. Still, this is not a big problem for Turkey. What happens in Syria or Iraq is not only Turkey’s concern, but concerns the entire EU, NATO, Russia, Iran and even China. The current tension with Russia will calm down soon as everyone knows countries are run with common sense, not with emotions. The first steps to bettering relations with Israel were taken in the second week of December and will pick up speed in January. I hope the same for our relations with Russia.
To sum it up, Turkey is finishing 2015 in the best way possible. We owe this to the stability ensured by the current administration. It is also the reason why 49,5% of the voters re-elected them. Rapid growth will continue in 2016, particularly in pre and post-press areas. Investments to ensure print stability and high quality continued and will continue at full speed. We can produce the quality requested by Europe and there is no doubt, with every new day, more printers will reach that quality level.
With this editorial I’m writing on December 18, I wish a good and profitable year for all our friends in the New Year.