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Secondary Cities of Europe: The Case of Regional Industrial Development in Turkey

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Turkey’s EU accession path and its effect on regional industrial development

An EU initiative addressed how Turkey’s accession process since the mid-1990s has been shaping the regional distribution of its manufacturing industries.

Industrial Technologies
Fundamental Research

The EU-funded SECONDARY CITIES-EU (Secondary cities of Europe: The case of regional industrial development in Turkey) project set out to explore the connection between Turkey’s EU accession and Europe’s industrial transformation. The focus was on three cities that have experienced massive industrial growth during this time: Denizli, Gaziantep and Kayseri. Project partners began by interviewing government agency representatives, assessing key strategic documents and providing content analysis. Then, they interviewed representatives of the chambers of industry, regional development agencies, the governor’s office and municipalities in the three cities. This was done to gather data about the industrial facilities in each city. Researchers also conducted interviews with representatives of the largest industrial companies and their subsidiaries in these cities. In total, 142 respondents provided information about the business, production and employment procedures of these enterprises. Based on the findings, three factors emerged as key to the cities’ superior industrial performance. First, their industrial background provided them with particular advantages concerning human resources and infrastructure. These cities had important industrial establishments before the 1980s, including textile facilities, sugar refineries and cement factories. Second, they enjoyed certain advantages because of location. Last, the rural-to-urban migration after the 1980s helped a new class of entrepreneurs to expand the industrial basis of the cities. In the last decade, the cities assumed three new roles within global industrial relations. Energy-intensive production thrived after the 2008 crisis, capital-intensive sectors grew faster than labour-intensive ones, and labour-intensive sectors grew through vertical integration. These developments resulted in tensions within local supply chains. Outcomes have been published in a monograph, four peer-reviewed articles, seven book chapters and three research reports. Results were also presented at various conferences, workshops and invited talks. The SECONDARY CITIES-EU team advanced the state of the art in the assessment of Turkey’s industrial policy orientations, the industrial and urban dynamics of its three thriving cities, and business and production practices of their largest manufacturing enterprises.


Turkey, regional industrial development, manufacturing, SECONDARY CITIES-EU

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