Experts and representatives of various sectors of the republic predict how the earthquake in Turkey may affect trade and economic ties with Uzbek enterprises.
According to the State Statistics Committee, Turkey ranks fourth in terms of trade turnover with Uzbekistan. At the end of 2022, the volume of trade between the two countries was $3,224 million.
“Along with Russia and China, Turkey has become the largest investor in our country – the number of joint ventures with Turkish capital has increased dramatically. In addition, a large number of enterprises with the participation of Uzbek entrepreneurs are opening in Turkey,” said Bakhtiyor Ergashev, director of the Ma’no Center for Research Initiatives.
The earthquake in Turkey on February 6 will be a serious test for the social sphere and economy of the country, and it cannot but affect its relations with partners, the expert stresses.
"It is clear that the tragic events in Turkey hit the foreign trade turnover of the two countries. It was inevitable. Now there are already many examples of Turkish companies talking about force majeure. Serious restrictions on logistics, as the transport infrastructure was seriously affected, led to the fact that a certain part of operations decreased, and this is objective," explains Bakhtiyor Ergashev.
However, according to the specialist, the country’s economy will not suffer much because the main production and administrative centers were not affected by the earthquake, so Turkey will be able to recover relatively quickly.
"The Turkish economy and its centers, which are Istanbul, the north and west of the country, the Black Sea coast, that is, the main part, are not affected by the earthquake. Therefore, Uzbek businessmen we talked to hope that all ties will be restored within a month or a month and a half. Positive dynamics in this matter is expected and the ongoing projects and contracts will be implemented in full," the expert said.
Uzbek producers are of the same opinion. According to the forecast of the founder of the agricultural company AGRO ORGANIC FOOD, Alisher Yusupov, the recovery of the Turkish economy will take about two months, after which cooperation with other countries will resume.
"Now our partners need to deal with losses, this may take about two months. I think Turkey is a strong country and I hope it will recover quickly. As for exports and imports of fruits and vegetables, we are ready to continue our cooperation as soon as everything gets better," he said in an interview with Sputnik.
A representative of SISTRONIK SYSTEM, which builds power lines and installs solar panels, also hopes that the tragedy in Turkey will not have a strong impact on the company’s activities.
“Our founder is a Turk, originally from Kahramanmarash, where the earthquake happened. We are very sad for the victims, we help in any way we can. But still we hope that it will not affect our production and work too much,” he shared.
Turkey is the second largest importer of textile products after Russia. Uzbek textile producers expect a decline in trade, which, however, will not last long.
"Turkey is one of Uzbekistan's biggest textile markets. As a result of recent events, a slight decline in trade turnover is expected. The reason is the breakdown of logistics chains, as well as increased time for raw materials and goods to reach their destinations. But we still believe that Turkey is a country with a strong economy. Therefore, according to our forecasts, everything will recover by the summer or autumn," says Umidzhon Tuychiev, a representative of the cotton-textile cluster in Samarkand.
To recap, earthquakes with magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 occurred on 6 February at an interval of 9 hours in the province of Kahramanmarash in southeastern Turkey. Underground shocks followed by hundreds of aftershocks were felt in 10 provinces of the country and neighboring countries, of which Syria was the most affected.
Uzbekistan sent about 200 specialists from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, dog handlers and medics to the disaster areas. Rescuers continue to clear away the rubble.