Turkey to focus on ways to improve R&D: Erdoğan

Turkey to focus on ways to improve R&D: Erdoğan

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Turkey to focus on ways to improve R&D: Erdoğan

AA photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 10 that the government is set to increase the research and development (R&D) spending, raising its GDP ratio from 1 to 3 percent by 2023.

"Turkey's gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) has increased to 1.06 percent in 2016 compared to 0.54 in 2001. But it is not enough. The target is 3 percent. We must achieve this," Erdoğan said at the Turkish Innovation Week event in Istanbul.

The three-day event, which was organized by Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), was attented by nearly 90,000 people since its opening on Dec. 7, according to the assembly's website. 

The president said the total number of people working in the R&D sector amounted to over 224,000 in 2015, up from 76,000 in 2001, and he stressed the importance of innovation for economies.

"Turkey's 2023 goals can only be based on an innovative understanding. I believe that Turkey, which has undergone major transformations in every sector, will achieve the same performance in innovation," Erdoğan said.

According to a recent TurkStat R&D Activities Survey, Turkey's gross domestic expenditure on research and development in 2015 reached 20.6 billion Turkish liras (around $7.6 billion) -- a 17.1 percent rise compared to 2014.

Erdoğan also thanked citizens for converting their foreign exchange assets to Turkish liras in order to boost the national currency as their efforts helped in its appreciation by as much as 0.25 lira per U.S. dollar.

"But there are some people who refuse to see the facts behind the rise of exchange rates, the games played on them, or why some people do it," Erdoğan said, adding that the Turkish currency campaign was not aimed at other countries.

"We want investment. We want increase of employment. We want production," he added.

The move to encourage Turkish citizens to change foreign currencies into liras came this week as Ankara is seeking ways to strengthen the lira through foreign trade and investments and cushion Turkish markets from the sharp global volatility seen in foreign exchange markets, especially in the U.S. dollar, seen in wake of Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory.