Turks - Economy



Industry and Trade. Modern industry dates from the beginning of the republic. The government has played an important role in the development of industry from that time and in the late twentieth century owned 47 percent of the industries. Manufacturing accounts for about 20 percent of the nation's gross national product but employs only about 10 percent of the labor force. Turkish industries include textiles, food processing, mining, steel, construction, lumber, and paper. Antimony, borate, copper, and chrome are mined in sufficient quantities to be exported. Tourism is a growing industry and has become an important source of national income. Turkey has close economic ties with Western Europe and applied for full membership in the European Economic Community in 1987. At the same time, it has sought trading partners in the Middle East. Turkey controls the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and has had disputes with Syria and Iraq in this regard. In 1993 it was estimated that there were 1,800,000 Turks working outside of Turkey, mostly in Germany.

Agriculture and Land Tenure. About 30 percent of Turkey's land area is considered arable. More than one-half of the land is devoted to cereals. Agriculture accounts for nearly one quarter of the gross national product and employs 48 percent of the population. The main cash crops include tobacco, cereals, cotton, olives, mohair, wool, silk, figs, grapes, nuts, citrus fruits, and sugar beets. Turkey is self-sufficient in food production, and it exports its surplus. Forests cover about 25 percent of the land and are protected by the state. Much of the wood that is harvested from these forests is used for fuel.

Division of Labor. The mechanization of agriculture has relieved the burden of women's agricultural chores, but the harvest continues to be a time of hard physical labor for all of the members of families who make their living from agriculture. Women continue to do much of the hoeing of vegetables and the digging for potatoes. Girls and young women are involved in the weaving of rugs.


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