A new $1.5 million sock knitting plant with ambitious plans to become Turkey's largest in less than 10 years will begin operations next month, producing socks for export to the US market.

AFA Tekstil AS will initially employ up to 70 workers, but rapid expansion is expected.

"Our growth strategy is to make AFA the largest sock knitting plant in Turkey by 2010 with 70 per cent production growth every two years," operations director Vedat Etemoglu told just-style.com.

The plant will use 60 Italian Lonati knitting machines in the first year and plans to invest in a further 50 next year.

According to the USITC Trade Database, Turkey only accounts for 2.4 per cent of the $500 million cotton sock exports to the US.

"With extensive focus on quality and streamlining operations on an online environment we will increase this percentage by competing with Mexican and Korean companies exporting socks for top US brands," Etemoglu added.