Would Turkey become (as good as) Iran?
I do not refrain from repeating this each time: If Turkey is to become a prosperous country, it will do it through scientific and technologic developments. In other words, first we will have the science; then we should have engineers capable of converting this science into technology and new product designs; and finally we should have venture capital to offer these new products and technologies to the market.
Some people are disinterested in this chain. They hope that a couple of bright guys will come up and create similar technology of the West in Turkey and the business will be over, they think.
But no; this chain is a whole and it is with science that everything begins.
Comparing to Iran scientifically
Columnist Orhan Bursalı from daily Cumhuriyet wrote two pieces comparing Turkey and Iran scientifically, with their educational infrastructure and in terms of economic output. Confirming him, Taha Akyol also wrote in daily Hürriyet.
Actually, it is very meaningful to compare Turkey and Iran because, for many years, we have said fearfully, “Let’s pull ourselves together or otherwise, we will be like Iran.” Now we can see that we wish we could have been like Iran in terms of science, since they have started from far behind, swept past us and left us behind.
I would like to widen this comparison and compare us not only to Iran but also to South Korea and Israel. With this in mind, I collected this data from www. scimagojr.com, a site I was made aware of thanks to a reader. More precisely, I told the site which countries I wanted to compare and which categories, and they did the calculation. I highly recommend this site.
The scientific output of Korea and Israel in 1996 is almost the same, about 10,000 publications. Turkey had about half of that amount; Iran, on the other hand, could not even publish 1,000 publications.
Today (actually, 2014), the picture has changed undeniably: Korea is triumphantly ahead with 68,000 publications and Iran has 37,000 publications. Turkey has gone up to 33,000 publications while Israel has remained at 15,000 publications.
A boost in mathematics and physics
When we compare specific categories, then we see that the trend is more or less similar to the general picture. For instance, in 1996 in mathematics, Korea had 797 publications and Iran 75. In this field, Israel was leader with 1,044 publications and Turkey was third with 240 publications. Today, Korea is first with 3,887 publications, followed by Iran with 3,044, Turkey with 2,121 and Israel 1,761.
In physics and astronomy, Korea is the leader both in 1996 and today. Meanwhile, Iranian scientists wrote only 125 articles in this field 20 years ago; however, today they have more than 5,000 articles. Turkey has increased its number of articles from 579 to 3,380. Israel has been left behind in this competition.
In almost every field of science, the comparison of these four countries gives almost the same result.
Translating science into economy and politics
The outcome is that Iran is experiencing a serious scientific boom. We know how advanced Korea is. Israel is seriously left behind and Turkey’s advance is (especially when compared to Iran) inadequate.
If you are among the ones who think, “Sir, this is science. What is important is the military, political and economic power of countries,” then you should immediately give this thought up. Only the comparison among Turkey-Iran-Israel is enough to demonstrate the struggle to become the leader in our region.
Arab countries in the region were not able to cope with Israel because they were not at the level of Israel. Today, Israel is intimidated by Iran because Iran, alone, has left Israel behind level-wise.
Do not forget that scientific power soon turns into economic and military power.
Take a look at “the leader of the Middle East” debate from this point of view.