Turkey’s challenge with high technology growth

Turkey’s challenge with high technology growth

Turkey reaped the benefits of the reforms it undertook in 2000 for ten years and with the help of the global climate, reached high growth rates. Yet, for the past three or four years, there has been a stagnant economy; it has fallen in the middle income trap and serious changes are required to reach high growth rates again.

For years, there has been talk about the need to change Turkey’s production structure; yet, stuck in the rent of construction and lands, the government did not open the way for new searches.

In the wake of a new coalition government, it is now time to talk about radical changes required to change Turkey’s production structure to catch high and sustainable growth rates.

I had the opportunity to attend a biotechnology conference last week in Philadelphia and learn about new efforts in Turkey. I saw that preparations have started to form an industrial policy based on high technology.

Work within the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) has progressed; TEPAV has sent the message to the world to work together in high technology industries.

Actually the first concrete step was the formation of Biotechnology Sector Assembly within the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

TOBB then announced that it will form a Biotechnology Foundation. Behind all this is the work undertaken by the Center for Biotechnology Policies established within TEPAV. First steps taken were thanks to the efforts of Güven Sak, the director of TEPAV and Selin Arslanhan, the director of the center.

Now it is the turn of the public sector to start dealing with the issue by assigning the right persons, working together with the private sector and civil society organizations, setting up a dynamic model for Turkey by closely following developments in the world and getting on track by carefully choosing projects.

Political will is obviously needed for all this. It would be more correct to say a political will that will establish an institutional structure based on meritocracy. That’s why coalition work, which requires consensus building, could provide an opportunity to form the basis of high technology production and export.

Priority areas

TEPAV work emphasizes the establishment of technology platforms that will affect all sectors within industrial policies. Three technology platforms form the basis of the global technological transformation: biotechnology; nanotechnology and IT technology. While there are common sciences that feed these three technology platforms, there is also interaction between these platforms as well.

Production productivity is one of the most important determinants of growth and industrial strategies based on information. Innovation is also a must to have competitive power.

There are three tenants in forming an industrial policy with technology platforms: a smart state, an educated society and good governance.

These are the first challenges in Turkey’s test for high growth in advanced technology.