The 31st edition of Plast Eurasia, held at the end of November last year in Istanbul, brought together more than 1,000 companies from 41 countries, representing the plastics processing industry in its broadest sense.
The Tuyap Fair and Convention Center located in the Istanbul suburb of Büyükçekmece attracted more than 64,000 visitors this time, including 10,000 from outside Turkey. This represents a slight increase from 2021 when the Istanbul exhibition attracted around 61 000 visitors, including just under 9 000 from abroad.
However, when we look at the attendance taking into account the global political - economic turmoil, we can conclude that the Turkish exhibition remains the largest annual exhibition event for the plastics industry in Europe.
The plastics industry in Turkey developed slowly in the first half of the 20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Turkish government began to support the development of the sector, which contributed to the establishment of several plastics factories in the country. In the following decades, the industry continued to grow and the number of plastic factories increased significantly. In the 1980s and 1990s, Turkey's plastics industry developed rapidly and the country became an important player in the European and Asian markets. Today, the plastics industry in Turkey is one of the most important sectors of the country's economy, with numerous plants producing plastics and machinery and equipment for their production.
In 2020, the Turkish plastics industry was affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which had a negative impact on economies around the world. In the first half of the year, the economic slowdown and production freeze in many industries resulted in a decrease in demand for plastics. In the second half of the year, the situation improved and the plastics processing industry experienced growth, but did not reach pre-pandemic levels. The industry focused on adapting production to the new market conditions and changing demand, primarily increasing production of medical products and specialised packaging.
There are approximately 7,000 companies in Turkey producing and supplying materials to major industries such as automotive, electrical, electronics, packaging, textiles and construction. Around 99% of the companies are small and medium enterprises.
At the last edition of the fair, we had the opportunity to talk to Yavuz Eroğlu, chairman of the PAGEV association - the largest trade organisation that represents the plastics industry in Turkey. PAGEV - Plastic Industrialists' Association (Turkish: Plastik Sanayicileri Derneği) was established in 1971 and has since represented the interests of the Turkish plastics industry, both nationally and internationally. The organisation works to increase the competitiveness of the Turkish plastics industry by promoting innovation and encouraging the development of new technologies and products. The association also works to improve the image of the plastics industry and promote the responsible use and disposal of plastic products. PAGEV is also the organiser of the Plast Eurasia trade fair.
How do you evaluate the latest edition of the Plast Eurasia exhibition?
I am happy that we can come together at the event we organise annually at the Tuyap Fair and Convention Center. The current edition of Plast Eurasia has definitely exceeded our expectations. Although we expected an increase in the number of visitors, we did not expect the number to be a record. We expect the number of visitors to be around 65,000, but the most important thing is that the fair is popular with foreign visitors. This year we have recorded an increase of more than 20 per cent in their numbers compared to the 2021 edition. We are very pleased with this.
As organisers of this exhibition, we visit the stands of PAGEV member companies and ask them about their impressions of the fair. I can say that optimism shines through in these conversations. All in all, we are very satisfied with the current edition of Plast Eurasia in many aspects.
What is the current situation of the Turkish plastics industry? What is the sector's position compared to other countries?
Turkey's plastics industry is one of the largest in the world. We estimate that in 2022 the Turkish industry will produce around 11 million tonnes of plastic products, placing Turkey sixth in the global ranking of plastic producers.
In terms of the European continent, Turkey ranks second after Germany, and the Turkish converting sector generates revenues of approximately $44 billion per year.