Turkey, especially under the rule of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire (1290-1924), gained a reputation for richly embroidered fabrics. Turkish towelling and Turkish carpets remain bywords for luxury and colour. Turkish caftans or kaftans (defined as 'a full-length garment with elbow-length or long sleeves', worn chiefly in eastern Mediterranean countries; or a westernised version of this garment consisting of a loose, brightly coloured waist-length or ankle-length tunic.) and Turkish kilims ('a tapestry-woven Turkish rug or other textile with geometric designs in rich, brilliant colours') are still very popular in the 21st century. Turkey imported piece-goods ('fabrics made and sold in standard lengths') from Lancashire. The export of piece-goods to Turkey declined during the early 1860s but peaked in 1870. By 1894 however Turkey was the largest market for printed cottons, surpassing Brazil and the USA.
Raw cotton grows primarily in the Aegean, Cukurova and S.E.Anatolian regions of Turkey. The Aegean region grows the highest quality cotton. Turkey was never a major exporter of raw cotton to Lancashire, but during the Cotton Famine (caused by the American Civil War 1861-1865) both cotton and grain exports from Turkey to England increased.
During the aftermath of the decline of the yarn export markets in China, Japan and India, the Lancashire spinning industry looked for other outlets and found them in The Levant, notably Turkey and Egypt. Yarn exports to Egypt peaked in 1891 while those to Turkey peaked in 1892. The Lancashire mills scored over foreign competition in the quality and fineness of their yarn. From late 1880s British imports of the long stapled Egyptian cotton increased as this type of cotton gave the finest yarns. Turkey however did not follow her Eastern neighbours in building up her own cotton manufacturing industry to any extent.
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