Role of Information & Communication Technologies and Digital Skills in the Covid-19 Era – EU & Turkey Vision

The Vision of Turkey and Europe on Digital Transformation

The proven importance of Digital Transformation in the Information Technology sector during the pandemic 

An online event based on the “Information Technology and the Roles of Digital Abilities during the COVID-19 phase with the vision of European Union and Turkey” was hosted by the TBV, TUBISAD, and TESID which had formed the “Digital Turkish Platform” in 2011 and is also part of the European Union and Turkish delegation and also a member of “Digital Europe” and have together represented the shared values of the information technology communication and electronic sectors which have had strategic importance in the advancement of the Turkish economy.

The speakers at the event where the President of Turkish Digital Platform and TBV Faruk Eczacıbaşı, The President of the European Union Turkey Delegation Ambassador Christian Berger, the General Director of Digital Europe Cecilia Bonefeld Dahl, the Chairman of TUBISAD Erman Karaca, and the Chairman of the Management Committee of TESID C. Mujdat Altay.

The host speaker, Mr. Faruk Eczacıbaşı of Digital Platform Turkey and TBV explained in his speech that where they were waiting for the advancing technology to create new beginnings, a virus that is not visible to the eye has taken control and affected the world on a personal and a commercial level. He went on to explain that the grave changes that this virus has brought cannot be said to be a “comfort zone” for anyone around the world as it has changed many systems, institutions, and methods.

He further explained that the use of advanced technologies that we have today has created great important uses and opportunities especially in the sectors of health, education, communication, and transportation and that this has been able to provide a sustainable solution.

The European Union and Turkish Delegation Chairman Ambassador Christian Berger mentioned during his speech that “COVID-19 has shown how important it is for all individuals and the commercial world to be in touch with one another and to be able to work together in unity. We will focus and invest in digital services and innovations from all member and potential member countries so that these can be utilised by all European countries”.

The General Director of Digital Europe Cecilia Bonefeld Dahl mentioned in her speech how this has affected Europe and how this crisis has transformed into our lives into a digital world. As a result, she explained how important it is for us to be able to support KOBI’s through financial means and also through the tax system as they are the backbone of the economy and how we should support to transform our connectivity to 5G communication, save energy through the use of the internet, and the transformation to a digital world to help individuals and also the commercial world.  She explained that they are kept informed through Digital Turkish Platform and further explained the important role of the Turkish BIT sector has had through its innovations.

The chairman of TUBISAD Erman Karaca gave information about the Turkish BIT sector and explained that although Turkey is ahead of many countries around the world in terms of information and communication technologies, there is still quite a difference between Turkey and those countries leading the sector.

If we are to look into the average performance of new technologies throughout Turkey we are able to see that those areas, sectors, and companies who have made use of these technologies has had a great positive impact.

Technology will play a great role in going back to our normal lives and the economy when turning back to normal. The economy will be a lot more dependent on the use of technology when the pandemic is over. The politics over technology is also very important as with the monetary and financial politics in dealing with the effects of the pandemic. As such, Turkey must introduce a package to make greater of use technology. It is evident that we should be using technology a lot more now than ever before as we have been using technology for communication and sharing information to overcome and minimise the effects of this pandemic.

The Chairman of the Committee Members of TESID C. Müjdat Altay mentioned that Turkey can become a hub in production, logistics and in research and innovation in the areas of electronic and information communication technologies (BIT), and explained that: “In current times our country provides hands-on and competitive investment opportunities as we can see through the policies and strategies in place in the transformation of digitalisation. Half of the Turkish population is under the age of 32 and has a workforce population of 31 million. We have an advanced research and innovation ecosystem and an encouragement programme.  In over 200 universities engineering is always the most chosen discipline.  So, therefore, we have a great foundation in becoming digitalised.  We have powerful and strong talents in the areas of electronics and BIT’s in terms of coding, resourcing, and technical facilities.  Currently, we have fully functioning 1240 research and innovation centres, 370 design centres and 85 technology innovation districts.  On the other hand, we have successful cooperation with the European Union in the EUREKA and H2020 programmes.  In the 181 EUREKA and Horizon 2020 projects there are more than 1300 attendees from Turkey who are aiding in the development of technology. I know that all parties are happy with this cooperation and that we are all making good use of our strength in innovation and competence in the sector.  Recent researches show logistics was the most affected area from the pandemic after the effects it has had on the health sector.  Digital Europe explains in one of their studies that the resourcing chain has been affected by 74%. There will be important steps and precautions that we will take in this area.  Turkey is willing to be a hub in the ‘new normal’ for its surrounding areas in terms of logistics, production and also being a research and an innovation centre.  It is continuing to work diligently towards this. I believe that our continuously emerging hard work with the European Union on digital technologies in terms of sharing information will create significantly better results in the future.”

Information about Digital Turkish Platform

Digital Turkish Platform was formed in 2011 by the joint corporation of Turkish Informatics Foundation, TUBISAD and TESID, and is a member of Digital Europe where it provides information on the European Union digital agenda and technologies, provides updates from the sectoral developments of the European Continent and provides a medium where experience, information, and research is shared through the headings of information communication and telecommunication with our country and with those of the European Union.