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Natural Stones in Turkey


Natural stone is the oldest construction material used by man. From ancient times until

today, natural stones have played an important role in Turkish industry and architecture.

Marble has been processed and used by all civilizations in Anatolia. Since ancient times

marble has been used as an architectural decoration in order to beautify the floors and

walls of palaces, temples and public areas. The statues and monuments dating back to the

Hittites, Greek and Roman amphitheaters, arenas and other works of art; the palaces,

baths, caravanserais, mosques and medreses of the Seljuk Turks, and Ottoman mosques,

minarets and fountains all prove that marble has been extensively used in Anatolia.


The Roman, Seljuk and Ottoman empires in particular used marble in their buildings. Two

of the seven ancient wonders of the world are in Bodrum and Ephesus. The most famous

was the Temple of Artemis, which was one of Seven Wonders of the World. It was the first

temple in ancient world that was made of marble. The second one is Mausoleum of

Halicarnassus which was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus. It was

made of alabaster and stood approximately 45 meters (135 feet) in height. The Aspendos

theatre in Side, in the south part of Turkey, is the best-preserved Roman theatre. It was

made of calcareous stone. It seats 15,000 persons and has remained perfectly intact for

1800 years while earthquakes, wars and time have destroyed most of the surrounding



The natural stone industry consists of basic stones such as marble, granite and other

natural building stones such as limestone, travertine, basalt, sandstone, serpentine,

diabase, and slate. In addition to these stone varieties, in recent years slate stone, pebble

stone and tufa are coming to the forefront in Turkey’s stone production and export.

Today natural stone and stone products are used by different end-users. The main endusers

are stone processing industry, the building industry and the consumer market. The

main uses of natural stone are tiles for floors and paving, special works such as

balustrades, columns, fireplaces, fountains, grave stones, structural works like sets and

curb stones, internal & external wall cladding and stairs/steps.


Turkey is a land of marble ….


In terms of natural stones, and especially marble, Turkey has ample resources since it is  

located in the Alp’s mountain range. Turkey has been one of the oldest marble producers

in the world with its 4,000 years of background in marble production starting on the

Marmara Island.


Turkey has immense reserves of marble, travertine, onyx, conglomerate, breccias and

magmatic rocks. Turkey’s total marble reserves are estimated at about 5.2 billion m3 –13.9

million tons. Turkey has an exploitable reserve of 3.8 billion m3 for marble deposits; the

same figure is 2.7 m3 for travertine and 995 million m3 for granite. According to estimates,


Turkey has 40 percent of the world’s total marble reserves. Having a considerable and

quite diverse mineral base, Turkey has one of the world's largest natural stone reserves,

which is considered to be excellent quality and exclusive due to great variety of colors and



Turkey is among the world’s most important natural stone manufacturers with its huge

reserves and well-developed processing industry. 

Common characteristic properties of Turkish marbles

Quality - free from any cracks or other defects

Color - there is a wide range of colors, which allows a wide range of choice

Sizes - sufficient to yield big blocks

Uniformity - consistency in quality

Pattern - decorative arrangements of colors and crystal composition are possible

Good technical properties result in natural resistance to air pollution, wear and dirt.

Besides these common properties every marble has its specific colors and composition,

which make it possible to use them in the production of exclusive products.


Important reserves of marble are located in all regions of Anatolia and Thrace. Reserves

are concentrated in Afyon, Balıkesir, Denizli, Tokat, Muğla and Çanakkale. ,

The best-known varieties of Turkish marble Elazığ Cherry: Elazığ cherry is made of serpentinite and

carbonated ultra basic rocks.


Red-green pebbles are attached with the same colored cement. It can be used in interior

/exterior plating and decoration. Some structural fissures are found in blocks.

Supren: It generally shows cataclastic texture and gray-white colors which have red-pink

and yellow veins, zones and patches. It can be used in interior / exterior plating, floor

covering and decoration.


Leopard (Salome): This marble of generally cataclastic texture has red-yellow veins,

knots and zones in a white background. It can be used in interior/exterior plating, floor

covering and decoration.


Milas Kavaklıdere: It has a white color and occasional purple veins. There are some

localized fractures in blocks.


Aegean Bordeaux: It can be used in interior/exterior plating and decoration. There are

some localized fractures in the block, gives good plates. Cutting sides and corners and

shaping are difficult. It can be split at the fissures during polishing.


Aksehir Black: This marble showing cataclastic texture in general, has white calcite veins

and brown styoliths and can be used in interior /exterior plating or decorative

arrangements. It can be easily cut and polished.


Thracian Granite: It can be used in interior / exterior plating, floor covering or decoration.

Its suitability for taking blocks and plates and cutting sides and corners is good; while the

ability to shape and polish is normal. The cutting rate is slow.


Ayvalık Granite: It can be used in interior / exterior plating, floor covering or decoration.

Its suitability for taking blocks and plates and cutting sides and corners is good; while the

ability to shape and polish is normal. Cutting can be slow. 

Afyon White: It contains occasional yellow veins. Its suitability for taking blocks and plates

and cutting sides and corners, polishing and the shaping and the cutting rate are all

excellent. There is no risk of rusting.


Afyon Tigerskin: Its suitability for extracting blocks and plates, cutting sides and corners,

the shaping, and the cutting rate are all good. There is no rusting risk. Suitability for

polishing is normal. This marble has breccia-like formations including light knots and

elements embedded in dark-gray masses.


Marmara White: Its suitability for making blocks and plates, cutting sides and corners; and

cutting rate are all good. There is no rusting risk.


Mustafa Kemalpasa White: This marble is made of large calcite crystals manifesting

grano blasting texture and pressure twinning and has a white color. It can be used in

interior / exterior plating, floor covering and decoration. Its suitability for taking blocks and

plates, cutting sides and corners, the shape ability and the cutting rate are all good. There

is no rusting.


Karacabey Black: Some structural fissures have been observed in blocks. It can be used

in interior plating and decoration. Its suitability for taking plate and the cutting rate are

normal. The suitability for cutting sides and corners is good. There is no risk of rusting.



Quality and exclusivity are the major characteristics of Turkish marbles…..

More than 1.500 marble quarries, 2.000 factories and about 9.000 workshops operate in

the sector. 90% of quarries are located in the west of Anatolia, mainly in the Aegean and

Marmara Regions.


The production of natural stones in Turkey has grown rapidly in the last decade. Large

scale private companies invested in integrated processing plants, which resulted in

developments in the local market. With the introduction of modern production equipments

and methods, Turkey has become one of the world’s prominent natural stone producers.


The increases in production, the vitality of the construction sector in the domestic market

and the presence of new technologies have contributed to the widespread use of natural

stone as a construction material. Parallel with the increase in both domestic and

foreign/international demand, the Turkish marble industry has shown very good

performance in terms of quality and production capacity.


Turkish marble manufacturers are aware of the importance of quality. They use the world’s

most advanced, fully electronic and completely automatic machines. Most companies have

a large machinery park, and in the marble quarries the latest technology and high-tech

machines are being used. The processing plants are capable of producing tiles, cutting in

all commercially required sizes and quality standards.


Turkey’s total production capacity of marble is 6.5 million m2 and for granite 10, 5 million

m2. In last years marble production increased sharply. According to data from MIGEM

(The General Directorate of Mining Affairs), major products which are produced in Turkey

are marble, travertine, basalt and andesite. Granite production is the other important item

in stone industry. 

Granite, generally used in developed countries because of its characteristic properties, has

begun to be widely used in Turkey, too. Today it is extensively used for the inner and outer

decorations of buildings because of its appearance, durability against external conditions 

and high resistance to wear. In Turkey, in addition to large marble reserves, there are also

granite reserves in many cities including Ordu, Rize, Trabzon, Balıkesir, Kırklareli, Kırşehir,

Bolu, İzmit, Çanakkale and İzmir.

Though the natural stone quarrying and processing sector in Turkey is mainly composed

of small and medium-sized companies, these companies are well organized under

producers’ associations and exporters’ unions.


Natural stones produced in Turkey are manufactured in accordance with international

standards. Companies affix the "CE Mark" in compliance with the Construction Products

Directive of EU which has been in force in Turkey since 2007.

Turkish marble has been widely used in world-famous places due to its different color

scales and quality. In the entrance hall of St. Peters church, which is one of the most

important churches in Vatican, marble from Afyon Iscehisar has been used in columns and

coverings. In the White House, USA, Elazığ cherry has been used in the place where the

press statements are made. Some of the other places that Turkish marble has been used

in the construction are the German and French Statehouses and the United States

Congress Building. In Disneyland, the most famous amusement park in the world, 18

thousand m2 of Turkish marble are used. In addition to these, many luxury hotels prefer to

use Turkish marble in their floor coverings.


With its vast reserves, advanced processing techniques and capacity, Turkey is one of the

world’s important centers of the natural stone industry. These stones and marble

processing technology are exhibited in international and local fairs organized in Turkey.



Fast Growth in EXPORTS…..


Natural stone exports have developed rapidly in the last ten years. Turkish stone can be

found in the buildings and sidewalks of 200 different countries. The total value of natural

stone exports reached US$1.7 billion in 2011. More than one third of Turkish natural stone

exports are made to China with 38%. The other important trading partner is USA with a
share of 14%, which is followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Canada and



The most value-added-product in exports is processed marble with 49%, which is cut and

polished marble. Processed marble ranks first with a US$814 million export value. In 2011,

the main countries that Turkey exported processed marble were the USA, Iraq, Saudi

Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Canada.


Block marble ranked second with US$ 688 million in 2011. China, India, Syria, Taiwan and

Italy are the major buyers of block marble from Turkey.


Granite exports reached US$ 37 million in 2011. The most important markets for these

items are Germany, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.


􀂃 “Marble 18. The International Marble & Natural Stone Technologies Fair”
March 2012, Izmir

􀂃 “Natural Stone 2012, International Marble, Natural Stone Products and
Technologies Exhibition Fair” 18-21 October 2012, Istanbul

􀂃 “Stone Eurasia 2012, Natural Stones, Marble Production and Forming Technologies
Trade Fair” 29 August – 01 September May 2010, Istanbul


􀂃 Turkish Marble, Natural Stone and Machinery Manufacturers Association


􀂃 Denizli Marble Manufacturers Association


􀂃 Burdur Marble Manufacturers Association


􀂃 Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources


􀂃 General Directorate of Mining Affairs


􀂃 Istanbul Minerals and Metals Exporters’ Association


􀂃 European & International Federation of Natural Stone Industries (EUROCOC)


Tags :  Turkey natural stones,Turkish natural stones market, Turkey natural stone exports