486… This number says a lot about Turkey

486… This number says a lot about Turkey

486 is not the title of a new TV series. It is not the number of a plane that goes to your favorite destination. It is the number of ICT companies listed in Interpro’s ICT 500 list for Turkey this year. This means that there are not enough big ICT companies in Turkey to complete the 500. What is the only qualifier to make it to the list? A company must have a yearly revenue figure higher than 500,000 Turkish Liras, equal to around $250,000.

So, there are only 486 ICT companies in Turkey that are able to generate a monthly revenue of $20,000 or higher. It is just heartbreaking.

How can we talk about developing with ICT when we cannot even find 500 companies that make more than $250,000 a year? It is such a small number for any type of company, let alone for a technology firm. The ICT community should be ashamed.

I am sure the outlook would be even worse if Interpro listed companies that actually made a profit. A developer in Turkey earns around $2,500 per month, minus the health insurance and taxes to the government per worker. So, if any company close to number 486 in the list has more than three developers, it is impossible for it to have any profits at all, even without calculating the rent and other expenses.

In the report, Interpro states that 300 of the 486 increased their revenues compared to last year. However, this also tells us that 186 out 486 companies did not grow, or actually reduced over the last year.

The champions are once more the telecommunications giants: Turkcell, Turk Telekom, Vodafone, etc.
As usual the second tier belongs to the companies that sell ICT-related products.

The services and software companies belong to the third tier and below.

This is proof that, as Serhat Ayan in his news blog tknlj.com stated, Turkey is not an ICT country.
Our authorities like to brag about the funds they have reserved for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development and Support Administration (KOSGEB), but all in all we have only a handful of ICT companies that can make a profit in Turkey.

Now we have to face this fact, and realize that the key to becoming an ICT-powered economy is not about the funds, but about the people. It is about university students and entrepreneurs and creative professionals.

The media, the politicians and the public are so occupied with debates about who should be our next president that we always miss what really matters. We are losing our future every day that we don’t change the fabric of our society to allow room for free thinkers, crazy students and tolerant professionals. How important would it be to become the president of Turkey, if only Turkey was able to buy world changing technologies - rather than just producing them - and leading the free worl