Fear of imports grips steelmakers

While Turkey surpassed Germany in steel exports in 2021 and became the top of Europe, it lost this position in 2022. The steel producers, who complain about the government’s policies that increase imports, say that countries such as Russia, China and India are starting to gain weight in the domestic market. Indicating that the German government has allocated 32 billion euros to the sector, the manufacturers complain that the government does not sufficiently support the strategically important sector.

In steel production, where Turkey surpassed Germany in 2020 and 2021 to rank first in Europe, it lost the lead due to the government’s economic policies. Steelmakers complain that the government does not adequately support the strategically important sector. Recently, the increasing weight of countries such as Russia, China, Iran and India in the domestic market raises concerns that Turkey may fall further behind in steel production.

Factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war, global recession, and rising inflation caused a slowdown in the steel demand of Europe and America, which are among Turkey’s important markets. This situation brought about a decrease in production and capacity utilization rates.

According to the data of the Turkish Steel Producers Association, Turkey’s steel production decreased by 12.9 percent in 2022 to 35.1 million tons. The slowdown in demand was also reflected in export figures. According to the latest January-November 2022 data announced by TURKSTAT, the steel industry exported 19.6 million tons with a decrease of 17.7 percent in quantity and 21.1 billion dollars in value with a decrease of 5.3 percent.

According to the news of DW Turkish, Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB) Chairman Adnan Aslan, emphasizing that there has been a significant increase in product entries from Russia to Turkey due to the embargoes applied to Russian steel products in this period, said that the aggressive price policy applied by Russia caused Turkish producers to notes that it was adversely affected.

Stating that this situation created competition and cost differences and started to create new dynamics in the domestic market, Aslan said; He points out that countries such as Russia, China and India have begun to increase their weight in the domestic market.

Adnan Aslan, Chairman of the Board of Steel Exporters’ Association

Aslan says:

“Countries such as Russia, China, India and Iran continue to sell to our country at dumped prices. Imports will of course take place, as long as it is balanced and fair. Our domestic producer’s chance to compete is not taken away. At this point, as the representatives of the Turkish steel industry, it is necessary to prevent dumped imports. We demand that measures be taken.”

“We expect incentives from the government”
It is expected that protectionist measures will continue to be a pressure factor on the sector in 2023. Pointing out that the taxes and quotas imposed by the USA and the EU continue, Adnan Aslan says, “We, as Turkey, believe that we should determine a serious strategy and implement the necessary regulations as soon as possible.”

Pointing out that the iron and steel industry is one of the industries with the highest energy costs, Aslan said; He points out that in many countries such as the UK and the European Union, manufacturers receive government support for the energy they use in steel production.

Calling the government and saying, “We expect support with incentive packages,” Aslan also draws attention to the negative effects of foreign dependency on raw materials for the industry. Aslan says, “For this, we believe that it is necessary to follow the initiatives that we will provide with the support of our state in order to realize different investments.”


Decreased production in the sector also reflects negatively on capacity utilization rates. Producers started to reduce their production capacity due to rising costs and shrinking demand in target markets. This situation causes some companies to take measures to lay off workers.

Veysel Yayan, Secretary General of the Turkish Steel Producers Association, draws attention to the fact that the capacity utilization rate of the sector, which was 74.5 percent in 2021, decreased to 62.7% by the end of 2022. Veysel Yayan, explaining that the 50 percent increase in natural gas and electricity prices overnight in August 2022 created a great surprise in the sector, said, “This increase had a very negative impact on our forward orders. We lost,” he says.

Veysel Yayan, Secretary General of Turkish Steel Producers Association


At this point, Yayan cites Germany as an example, where Turkey lost the lead in production in 2022, and says:

“Different from us, the government in Germany allocated a resource of 92 billion euros to solve the problems faced by German steel companies regarding electrical energy. In our case, instead of allocating resources to our sector, even the discounts applied to shopping malls in natural gas and electricity were not applied. In Europe While the state bears the bill of providing cheap energy to households, we in Turkey bear this burden.”

Pointing out that the recent increase in imports has come to the fore on top of this emerging situation, Yayan notes that imports from China and India have increased nearly three times. Yayan says, “Countries that cannot go to Europe or the USA by waving their arms can enter our market very easily.”


Along with the steel industry, the ferrous and non-ferrous metals industry demands ‘urgent’ steps from the government in order not to fall behind in production and exports.

Çetin Tecdelioğlu, Chairman of the Board of Istanbul Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals Exporters’ Association (IDDMIB), says that as exporters, they need a competitive exchange rate and demand energy tariffs specific to sectors in energy.

In addition, manufacturers who have problems in accessing finance demand that Free Trade Agreements be signed quickly with countries with high potential such as the USA, Latin America region and Algeria.

Tecdelioğlu states that if these steps are taken, the sector, which closed 2022 with an export of 14.4 billion dollars, could reach 20 billion dollars.

Çetin, President of Istanbul Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals Exporters’ Association Tecdelioglu


Thanks to the import substitution system that came into effect since 1980, Turkey increased its steel exports to neighboring countries such as Iran, Iraq and North African countries. In the next 20 years, there was a great increase in Turkey’s production and exports.

Turkey, which was the world’s 10th largest steel producer in 2001, became the world’s 8th and Europe’s 2nd largest producer in 2019.

Between 2001 and 2011, Turkey’s steel production, which was the third fastest growing steel producer in the world after China and India, increased from 15 million tons in 2001 to 40.4 million tons in 2021.

In 2021, Turkey surpassed Germany to become Europe’s largest and the world’s seventh largest producer. However, losing this position in 2022 and falling to the second place in Europe and the eighth place in the world, the growth in the steel industry in Turkey has been largely driven by strong domestic consumption so far.