The Kurdish Globe
By Zakariya Muhammed
Strolling through the companies and shows of the Kurdish capital city of Erbil, it is easy to see the dominance of Turkish furniture products, from home stuff to office furnishings.
There are over 50 shows and companies in Erbil's Tairawa Neighborhood on the 60 meter street, that offer many of the same brands that shoppers find in Turkey. The dominance of Turkish products in the city is not only because of the beauty but it is also due to their good quality and suitable price.
Vana, Karas, Karash, Ekhlas, Sultan, B & B, Queen, and King House are names of some of the companies and shows that are located on 60 meter road and are either main agents or distributors of Turkish furniture.
Sultan is one of the companies that offer office, home furniture and electronic appliances. Most of its products are made in Turkey. According to Mahmud Mahdi, the company manager, Italian furniture usually is in great demand and favored by many Kurdish people but due to high cost in transferring products from European countries to the region, most of the companies refuse to bring Italian stuff.
"Turkish companies do business with high quality and in time relatively cheaply compared to other companies not only in furniture but in electronic supplies and food products too," explained Mahdi.
Vana is another company, which is very well known by Erbil residents. It specializes in office furniture. The company has been working since 1934 and is regarded as one of the oldest companies in Erbil city. Most of the Government agencies and ministries have been furnished by Vana.
"One can easily recognize Vana file cabinets, tables and chairs in the government foundations. Whoever bought things from here in the past has showed their satisfaction with our products, which are mostly Turkish," said Shaho Vana, the company general manager
The company manager refuses to bring products that are thought to be Italian from Arab countries. He thinks most of the stuffs that claimed to be Italian but look fake here and do not seem originally made in Italy. He likes to go to Italy by himself to get Office furniture.
B & B is another company, located in Tairawa that provides office and home furniture. Although there is classic furniture, the modern stuffs occupy most of the spaces of the company.
"The products are mostly Turkish in the company. For now our business is somehow weak and is not like before but in the future we like to bring products from other European countries if the prices are suitable," Bazyan Shaqlawaye, the company's general manager
When asked what made his business weak, Shaqlawaye answered "There are dozens of furniture companies in this area and most of them sell similar products. The numerous companies created a negative impact on the business."
Although Shaqlawaye likes the Turkish brands, he likes to bring something different from Turkish manufacturers to the region to invigorate the furniture business.
Engaged couples constitute a large number of furniture customers in Tairawa. The couples consult with each other as to what to buy for their bedrooms. "I like this black set for bedroom; all people like black furniture nowadays. Don't you like it too?" Shirin Omer asked her fiancÚ Kawa Ahmad while taking a tour inside Queen Company for office and home furniture.
Salah Jalal, general manager of the company, which was founded in 2005 and is providing office and home furniture mostly in Kurdistan, said "most of the productions are made in Turkey. The bedroom furniture the couples like is made in Turkey. People like our products because we are providing top quality furniture with the most affordable, hard to beat prices," he said, noting that Turkish products are perceived as "a European brand" by locals in the region.
The relative stability and wealth of the Kurdistan region, cultural and linguistic ties as well as improving bilateral political relations have contributed to the expansion of the all kinds of trades including furniture.
After 2003 Turkey has become the key supplier of food, electronics, and furniture to the Kurdistan region. According to statistics by Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Kurdistan Region, Turkish companies' makeup 52.7% of the market share of foreign companies operating in the territory, while Iranian companies were the second most numerous foreign companies in Kurdistan after Turkish companies in 2011.