Industry leaders estimate that up to 25,000 Turkish textile and clothing subcontractors may be forced to shut down over the next few years, and 3 million workers could lose their jobs, because of Chinese competition and high input costs.

Yilmaz Kocaoglu, president of the Istanbul Textile and Clothing Subcontractor's Association (ITFAD in Turkish), said in a statement that 180,000 companies operating in the textile and clothing business are already suffering from financial difficulties.

He added that 13,000 companies were closed down in 2004.

Highlighting the problems of the sector, Mr Yilmaz warns that unless the government takes urgent measures to slow rising energy costs and taxes, the industry will find it impossible to compete with China.

By Hasan Gulveren.