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Year of publication: 2017
Against the backdrop of the current political climate, compiling a report on a key industrial sector of Turkey’s economy, as well as on the situation currently faced by many of those it employs, is a considerable challenge for a variety of reasons. At present, the country is facing some of its most severe crises in living memory, including the ongoing civil war in neighbouring Syria, a continuing stream of migrants fleeing war-torn areas, disputes with the Kurdish population in the country’s south-east as well as dealing with dramatic shifts in domestic policy, terror attacks and a coup attempt in the summer of 2016. The state is also going through a tempestuous period in its relationship with its political and economic partners in the European Union. Within Turkey, the media, trade unions and civil society are being increasingly subjected to state repression and sanctions; the freedoms of speech and association are now second to the demands of public safety and terror prevention. Whilst these various processes remain relevant, this report will not explore them in greater depth but will focus primarily on the Turkish footwear and leather industry, the evidence produced by research conducted within the country as well as on the relevant structural causes of the established issues. Current political developments will, therefore, only be marginally examined.