Anatolian Tigers

Anatolian Tigers (Turkish: Anadolu Kaplanları) is a term internationally used in the context of the Turkish economy to refer to and to explain the phenomenon of a number of cities in Turkey which have displayed impressive growth records since the 1980s, as well as to a defined new breed of entrepreneurs rising in prominence and who can often be traced back to the cities in question and who generally rose from the status of SMEs.[1]

Where particular cities are concerned, the term is most often used for the capitals or depending centers of Denizli, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Bursa, Konya, Kocaeli, Kahramanmaraş.[2] Within Turkey, the accent is laid on cities that have received little state investments or subsidies over the years. Çorum, Denizli, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaraş, in particular, are cited among the cities who "made it themselves". In time order, while Denizli in Turkey's Aegean Region was the early hour precursor for rapid growth in an Anatolian Tiger pattern,[3] Gaziantep, Malatya, Konya and Kayseri are the most recently cited prominent Tigers on the basis of the number of companies they have among Turkey's 500 biggest.[4] These largest are the forerunners of further large companies and a multitude of smaller ones.

Aside from their production units, the definition generally excludes companies who have their headquarters in the largest cities of Turkey; namely İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa and Adana, as well as companies constituted with public capital.

The term is also echoed, in the form "Anatolian Lions" (Turkish: Anadolu Aslanları), by the name of the private sector association Askon that brings together businessmen from a number of other cities who have found common grounds between each other. This association has branches in Ankara, Burdur, Bursa, Gebze, İzmit, Konya, Malatya and Trabzon. These lions are less often cited among the tigers for several reasons.

Other variations of the term, such "Turkey's Tigers" or "Turkish Tigers", as used by the PBS without excluding the most commonly used form of "Anatolian Tigers" have also been pronounced.[5][6]

CityNr. of companies
Gaziantep & Kayseri23
Trabzon & Ünye4
Kütahya & Niğde3
Adıyaman & Afyonkarahisar
& Çankırı & Giresun
& Isparta & Karaman
& Malatya

Beyond their shared characteristics in an economical perspective, references have also been made, especially in international media, to different political connotations within the term, including by associating this capital with Islamic values or extending its whole under such definitions as "Islamic capital" or "green capital". The political choices and the voting trends of the cities and of particulars in question may differ widely between each other. A 2005 study by the European Stability Initiative that was focused on Kayseri uses the term "Islamic Calvinists" to define the entrepreneurs and their values.[7]

Several business awards or conferences in Turkey draw reference from the term "Anatolian Tigers" or its variants.

The term was copied after the Asian Tigers.

Geographical distribution

According to the 2005 Istanbul Chamber of Industry's annual ranking of Turkey's top 1000 industrial enterprises,[8] the adjacent table contains cities which best fit the definition of Anatolian Tigers.[9] Among these cities Trabzon has one company in top 25.

See also


  1. Demir, Ömer; Acar, Mustafa; Toprak, Metin (2004). "Anatolian Tigers or Islamic Capital: Prospects and Challenges". Middle Eastern Studies. 40 (6): 166–188. doi:10.1080/0026320042000282937.
  2. Wendy Christianasen (July 1997). "New Faces of Islam". Le Monde Diplomatique. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  3. Hüseyin Özgür. "Integration of a Local Economy to the Global and European Markets through Export–Led Growth and Specialized Textile Products Export: Home Textile Production in Denizli – Turkey" (PDF). 18th European Advanced Studies Institute in Regional Science. University of Lodz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  4. Pelin Turgut. "Anatolian Tigers: Regions prove plentiful". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
  5. Jon Alpert; Matthew O'Neill. "Wide Angle: Turkey's Tigers". PBS. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  6. Jon Alpert; Matthew O'Neill (2006-08-23). "Wide Angle: Turkey's Tigers". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-08-23.
  7. ESI. "Islamic Calvinists: Change and Conservatism in Central Anatolia" (PDF). European Stability Initiative, Berlin. Retrieved 2005-09-19.
  8. Istanbul Chamber of Industry Archived 2007-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Istanbul Chamber of Industry: Turkey's Top 1000 Industrial Enterprises Archived 2007-04-23 at the Wayback Machine. The table excludes the Thrace-İstanbul-Bursa-Eskişehir-Ankara axis, the highly integrated İzmir-Manisa-Aydın and Çukurova regions, as well as the Turkish coastline until the coal basin in the western Black Sea Region. Southeastern Anatolia Project region, included in the count, currently displays only the first signs of its potential industrial might. Likewise, the recent opening of continuous highway along the Black Sea coast is expected to deeply influence the fortunes of the region along the shoreline. Aside those mentioned in the table, the urban centers who to date have one company that is represented among Turkey's top 1000 were: Bafra, Bucak, Bulancak, Çarşamba, Çorum, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Erzurum, İnebolu, Kars, Kastamonu, Kırşehir, Mardin, Rize, Siirt, Sivas, Suluova, Tokat and Yozgat.
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