Adıyaman: Hot spot for clusters

01 May 2007

The cluster in textile industry that is being realized in Turkey’s eastern city Adıyaman, is ongoing as an example study with the enthusiam of all its participants. This cooperation was last exhibited at a meeting on 7 April 2007 with the participation of the city’s senior officials.

New Horizons - At the 12th Local Clustering Committee meeting organised by GAP-GİDEM and Adıyaman Textile and Ready-wear Cluster Association, the importance of clusters and sustainability were discussed. Among the participants were Adıyaman Acting Governor Mehmet Akçay, Adıyaman Mayor Necip Büyükaslan and Head of GAP Regional Development Administration as well as senior officials from the Chamber of Trade and Industry Zafer Ersoy, İstanbul Textile and Confection Exporters Union, Günkar Holding, TOBB and Domino Textile.

With this cluster initiative, Adıyaman is on its way of becoming the textile basin for Europe and the Middle East. In the context of the project, the unemployment rate in Adıyaman fell 11% in men and 4% in women by providing employment for 1700 workers. In this context 18 new cotton factories, 10 yarn factories and one weaving factory was opened as well as one dye-house, two fabric stamp firms and 4 embroidery firms in order to meet the needs that arose thus adding to a total of 70 companies. Through the newly-opened factories 70% of the population working for the private sector now work in the textile industry and worldwide brands such as GAP and Tommy Hilfiger are now being produced in this city.

The textile cluster in Adıyaman is an initiative started by the city’s Supporting Entrepreneurs Centre (GİDEM). In the framework of the project financed by the European Commision and implemented by the UNDP and GAP Regional Development Administration, GİDEM was established in 4 cities in 1997.

Cluster Trainings in Ankara

Instructors from The Economic Competitiveness Group gave trainings on 16-20 April 2007 in order to apply the cluster initiative that was applied in Adıyaman to Ankara in which 15.9% of the population is unemployed. Among of the participants of the training that were held in Ankara were experts from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Under secretariat for Foreign Trade, State Planning Organization, KOSGEB, İstanbul Textile and Confection Exporters Union, Aegean Exporters Union, TOBB Economic and Political Reserach Foundation and GAP-GİDEM.

CLUSTERS : NECESSITIES OF DEVELOPING ECONOMIES

Nowadays, certain industries are more highly concentrated in some places than others. Today, this concept is defined as clusters or cluster-based economies. In other words clusters are the geographical concentration of economic activities in a given region. The use of cluster-based economies has been increasing since the 1990s but it should be kept in mind that clusters weren’t constructed, they rather evolved by themselves gradually from large companies that located in less-populated areas to take advantage of lower wages and a surplus of the labour markets. An assembly of almost any industry can form clusters. For example some cluster categories could be listed as aerospace, automotive, chemical products, agricultural products, leather products, construction materials, metals or plastic manufacturing, textiles, tobacco etc.

Without doubt clusters provide great advantages in enabling higher productivity and economic strength thus bringing prosperity which is why firms inreasingly choose to be a part of clusters that will increase their competitiveness. However the presence of certain factors such as distributors and exporters, engineering and financial consultants, marketing experts, trade and labour organizations, regional government agencies, research and educational institutions, producers suppliers, services providers, reseach laboratories, technology centres and community-based organizations in an economic field are needed to increase clusters’ success not just regionally but globally as well because these elements act as agents for providing and sharing necessary information and know-how.

With these elements present, clusters can bring great benefits because they provide access to more suppliers and customized services as well as the sharing of knowledge, know-how and professional colleagues than more isolated competitors. Similarly firms belonging to a cluster can choose among a richer amount of resources and services that can be purchased faster and at a lower cost than their distant rivals. The benefits provided by clusters are mutual. Not only clusters benefit from the region but they also help to expand opportunities in lower-income regions as well.

However this may not always be the case. In the European Union in which cluster models are successfully implemented, the models that are not strong enough in the countries that subsequently joined the EU (EU-10) is seen as a factor that complicates the integration process of these countries. (Click here to read the report on “Clusters in the EU-10 New Member Countries”).

Although the use of cluster-based economies is fairly new, there are still various best-practice examples. It is a known fact that successful clusters receive the recognition of funding agencies and specialized resources and increase their political significance thus also increasing their reputation. While governments help clusters by mobilizing their resources, clusters help governments in contributing to their economic growth and creating opportunities in the less-advantaged regions.

Experiences of other countries that use cluster-based methods in their economies have shown that clusters can play an important role in encouraging structural changes and bringing prosperity to the region. The cluster model currently being implemented in Turkey’s eastern city Adıyaman is a very good example of this. Adıyaman has a growing cluster in textile industry and with its planned growth, it is exhibiting a model for development. Moreover the cluster example in Adıyaman was chosen one of the most successful projects by UNDP in 2005. Successful examples of the implementation of such clustering projects will certainly pave the way for new inspirations in other regions.