Will there be a wave toward nationalizing technology?
I have written time and again that I am against all kinds of efforts to nationalize technology, especially if they are geared toward suppressing citizens, like a national search engine or a national Twitter, where the government controls content. I am equally against any projects to nationalize technology if it will not give us any comparable advantage over global rivals, such as trying to build a regular national car.
I believe we need to focus our energy on technologies where we can really make a difference. We need to find a few areas to excel in instead of trying to nationalize everything. For example, Turkey had been one of the handful of countries that could sustain itself with its farming products. Now, it cannot.
What is even more surprising is Holland, with little land for farming, has become the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States. Dutch Exports totaled 92 billion euros last year. Flowers and flower bulbs once again topped the list of Dutch exports, followed by dairy products, which overtook meat as the second-largest Dutch agricultural export last year. Of course, the tulip is among the top-exported flowers. Can you guess where the Dutch got the tulip from? Yes, Turkey.
Turkey’s agricultural products exports were $16.9 billion in 2017. So a country so tiny, who has gained its star product from Turkey, has surpassed Turkey in agricultural exports by fivefold.
That should make us stop and think.
We could catch up with Holland only if we persist with the same kind of discipline, care, planning and technological innovation for years. So why don’t we start right now? What is keeping us from being more intelligent and strategic about farming?
The same thing goes for nanotechnologies. There had once been a national push towards nanotech and many innovative products had made it to markets, such us self-cleaning wall paint and self-cleaning suits, along with better conducting ceramics to be used in hydrogen fuel cells.
So why did that national push end?
These days, I see people are excited at the prospect of using Pardus as a national operating system to replace Microsoft.
This has evolved to a whole different level since the Reuters story broke out about Israel not renewing its Microsoft license.
Did we really have to wait for Israel to take action so we could follow?
The new Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank publicly said Turkey would nationalize technologies at a rapid rate.
The right conditions exist. The government’s agenda and public support are on the same page.
I hope during this nationalizing period, they will correctly prioritize and focus on technology that will give us a competitive advantage. I hope the current public support will not be abused and will not be used to create things like a national Twitter or Facebook.