Flowers, which provide an annual average of 150 million USD in foreign currency input to the country's economy, are processed mostly by women in Turkey and exported to various countries. Different types of flowers, from carnations to indoor and outdoor plants, are grown in cities such as Sakarya, Isparta, Izmir, Mersin, Adana, and especially Antalya, which is the center for cut flower production in Turkey. The flowers are sent to 80 countries, including many European countries.
The flowers, which are planted in an area of approximately 6,000 hectares, provide a livelihood for 100,000 people directly and 300,000 people indirectly. Women make up 80% of employment in the sector. Flowers collected by women both in greenhouses and open fields are first packed in warehouses. The flowers, which have an improved appearance after the packaging, are sent by trucks or planes. Regarded as a symbol of love, flowers are shaped in the hands of women and bring foreign currency into the country's economy.
Muazzez Tekeli, who has been dealing with flowers for 25 years in Antalya, said that she started working by harvesting flowers in the greenhouse at the age of 11, gained experience over the years, and reached a certain level of expertise in flower harvesting. Expressing that she started working in a greenhouse to contribute to her family, Tekeli said, "I grew up in greenhouses. I started working after I finished primary school. I worked for my family, for my siblings, and now I work for my own family, for my children. With the income I earn from here, I send my children to school. They also come here to work during the holidays. Flowers became our family's source of income." Stating that it is enjoyable to deal with flowers, Tekeli stated that they start their day with the scent of flowers. Tekeli explained that the flowers make others happy and touch their hearts. Tekeli remarked, "Of course, when a flower is sent to another woman, she is surprised and happy. But I do not receive any flowers, because I am already dealing flowers from morning to night. Flowers became my profession. On the contrary, I bring flowers to my husband from here and make him happy."
Duray Yildiz, who has been working in the sector for about 29 years, said that they started to work with her sister and relatives in order to contribute to the family economy. Yildiz stated that they had grown vegetables and fruits before but noted that dealing with flowers was different, "First, I started to support my husband financially. After a while, I couldn't leave my job. " Yildiz's sister Turkan Sensoy also underlined how much she loves her job. Explaining that they wake up with flowers in the morning and work in beautiful scents until the evening, Sensoy said, "It is a job that can be worked as a family. My sister, my aunt, my uncle's wife, and my brother are all here; we work together. "I have two daughters and a son, and they join us when school is on vacation. They both earn their pocket money by working in the family greenhouse and make good use of their time."
Source: Son Dakika