National security first
The world has become such a complex entity that it is very hard to reason the things that are happening even on a large scale. Turkish authorities have many important things to do these days. They seem to be getting ready for a war. Each day we feel that we are getting another step closer to real action. On the technology side, the war with foreign companies has long been fought. Google’s move to enlist in the chamber of commerce as a local entity won Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım a major battle, but it seems that with the news pouring in all around the world about restrictions on foreign telecom companies, the real battle is just about to begin.
According to the BBC, Canada has invoked a “national security exception” for hiring firms to build a secure communications network, allowing it to block those seen as a security risk. Canada did not name any firms, but there is speculation the move may be targeted at China’s Huawei. Questions have been raised about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese military, something the firm denies.
Canada is not the first country to act, and surely it will not be the last.
The trend started with the U.S. Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the U.S., a congressional panel warned after an investigation into the two companies. The two firms should be barred from any U.S. mergers and acquisitions, according to a House Intelligence Committee report. The panel says the firms failed to allay fears about their association with China’s government and military.
Huawei is one of the biggest telecom firms in the world, serving in more than 150 countries. In every market where they operate, they dominate with technological innovation and price advantage. The situation in Turkey is not different.
So now Yıldırım will have to face critics sooner or later about why Huawei is one of the companies that is building the Turkish telecommunications backbone.
Furthermore he will have to face accusations about the privatization of Turk Telekom, Avea, TTNET, Vodafone and Turkcell as there are no 100 percent Turkish-owned telecommunication companies in Turkey.
So far he has been dismissing all claims about national security giving examples from the developed world. Now, with the latest accusations from all around the world, he will be cornered.
Personally I am very happy that the technology leaders of the world are serving the Turkish people. Also it seems very unfair for the U.S. and Canada to try to change the rules of the game when Huawei has beaten all rivals using a term that no one can argue against: national security.
I hope that Yıldırım can develop better rhetoric than what he has used so far because I wouldn’t want to see technology giants leaving Turkey.