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Rose oil in Turkey

The centre of Turkish rose oil production lies between Burdur and Isparta, an hour and a half by car north of Antalya, 5 hours south-east of Izmir in the southern Taurus mountains.

More than a hundred years ago a Turkish farmer brought rose plants of the scented Rosa Damascena variety from Bulgaria into the "Turkish Lakeland". To the farmers who were eking out a meagre existence from the land at altitudes of between 1200 m and 1800 metres above sea level, this offered an opportunity to earn a living and support their families. To produce rose oil from the strongly scented flowers they formed cooperatives which took over the distillation of rose oil and the marketing of the product – cooperatives that still exist today.

This region is also the original source of the first rose oil to come from rose cultivation certified as organic. More than twenty years ago firms like Primavera and Weleda initiated own rose projects. Contracts were drawn up with individual cooperatives to facilitate their conversion to organic cultivation, to offer advice and support and to guarantee a market for their products. This made the region the global centre of organic rose cultivation. More recently, a great deal of Rose Concrete, obtained by extraction, has also been produced.