Students question lack of industrial investment in eastern Turkey during digital talks
Faruk Eczacıbaşı, the vice chair of Eczacıbaşı Holding and head of the Turkish Informatics Foundation, has been meeting university students to speak about his book “Daha Yeni Başlıyor [It has just started],” which covers rapid changes brought by the internet.
He previously met students of Koç University in Istanbul and has recently met students of Fırat University in the eastern province of Elazığ. His next stop will be Bilkent University in the capital Ankara.
As part of these visits, he has been telling the youth about the complex structure of our future by mentioning digital revolution, artificial intelligence and block chain, which are covered in his book.
He tries to guide them about these points.
It is an important support in such an era when the youth are facing many uncertainties about their futures.
The invitation from Elazığ Fırat University, just after Koç University, is also valuable and meaningful.
It is valuable in the sense that it gives both Eczacıbaşı and the journalists accompanying him the opportunity to understand the vision of the students of Fırat University and what they think.
Fırat University was founded in 1975. It has more than 10,000 foreign students among 46,000 students, from Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana.
Vice-dean of the Faculty of Technology and a faculty member of the civil engineering department, Prof. Dr. Bahar Demirel said students prefer Fırat University as it is strong in the software field.
She emphasizes that there are two software engineering departments in the university. One of them is under the Faculty of Technology and the other is under the Faculty of Engineering.
Fırat University, with its ambition in software engineering, also pioneers in two important fields.
Fırat Teknokent (Fırat Technopolis), led by Prof. Dr. Erhan Akın, is among the leading institutions in Turkey. It had a turnover worth 22 million Turkish Liras ($5,455,000) in 2017 mainly in the software field.
Faruk Eczacıbaşı was very comfortable with his presentation at Fırat University. He knows how to communicate with students, asks them questions and makes his presentations more interesting with striking anecdotes.
A difficult question
“You are born in the digital world. The planning and foreseeing period is left behind. The only way to keep up with the new paradigm is to manage to be flexible. This is possible with lifelong learning,” he said.
When Eczacıbaşı asked how many students speak a second foreign language like French, German, Arabic or Chinese in addition to English, there were only a few students stepping forward.
Unfortunately only 30 percent of the students of the university speak English.
This is one of the weakest points of students in Turkey and constitutes huge deficiency for Turkey’s future.
The most important condition to be a global player in whatever field is to speak a foreign language.
One of the students reminded Eczacıbaşı of his remark “If we call Ankara the brain of Turkey, the other regions are different parts of the same body,” and asked a question: “If we are all integral part of a whole, why do we only see the industrial investment in the western Turkey, and not in eastern Turkey? Why can’t we even find a company for our internship?”
“Why do people in Elazığ not establish a steel factory as the city is rich in chrome mine?”
Of course, this is not a question that should be answered by Eczacıbaşı, but by government officials.
A first in Turkey: Digital Forensics Engineering
The day before Eczacıbaşı’s meeting with the students, we met with academics at a dinner organized by the president of Fırat University, Kutbettin Demirdağ.
We had a chat with Professor Dr. Bahar Demirel, Dr. Mustafa Kaya and Assistant Professor İzzet Taşar.
İzzet Taşar explained the difficulty for the graduates of Fırat University in finding jobs in the country’s west.
Of course it’s annoying.
However, what Demirel and Kaya told gave us hope.
The department of the Digital Forensic Engineering, which is a first in Turkey, will give the first graduates this year.
There is no doubt that graduates of such a department will be popular at a time when cyber security is a hot debate.
According to the information given by Kaya, this department carries out important projects with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industry and the Development Ministry.
The Department of Unmanned Vehicle Systems is also a first in Turkey.
As Faruk Eczacıbaşı said, these are programs designed for future computing.