Turkey launches data, infrastructure, ability mobilization for AI

Turkey to take dozens of steps for creating AI ecosystem to enable digital transformation in country

Gökhan Ergöçün   | 28.08.2021
Turkey launches data, infrastructure, ability mobilization for AI


Turkey has launched a data, infrastructure and ability mobilization for developing technologies based on artificial intelligence (AI), with data, infrastructure and ability featuring as focal points of the novel strategy.

As part of the newly released National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, Turkey defined six priorities covering human capital, research, socioeconomic adaptation, infrastructure, international cooperation, and data quality, Ali Taha Koc, head of the presidency’s Digital Transformation Office, told Anadolu Agency.

The strategy is aimed at increasing the share of artificial intelligence in the country’s GDP to 5%, as well as to create 50,000 jobs in the sector to put Turkey among top 20 countries in the international AI indices.

Global AI expenditures, which currently amount to approximately $50 billion, are forecast to double in five years and will contribute between $13-$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and 13%-14% of global growth.

Koc stressed that countries which aim to create an AI ecosystem require a labor force that knows AI and can develop algorithms, data for solving problems and processing power.

"We defined 119 steps within six priorities. The first one is increasing AI experts by establishing undergraduate and postgraduate programs at universities," Koc underlined.

Public data

He said the country aims to train 10,000 people with postgraduate degrees within five years.

Another must is the data, he stressed, and highlighted that developing algorithms is impossible without qualified data.

"Thus, we will open our country’s data to citizens and enable them to produce algorithms," he added.

Developing technological infrastructure with high processing capacity may be expensive, so the country will create a public AI ecosystem for providing processing power to citizens and start-ups, he said.

After these steps, new unicorns – private start-ups valued at or over $1 billion – are expected to appear in Turkey, he stated.

Young population

The digital transformation should increase social and economic welfare by benefiting from technological elements, he said.

"We need to use innovative technologies to achieve digital transformation. If we cannot raise awareness of AI in Turkey in a decade, we will not be able to achieve digital transformation," he underlined.

Touching on institutions' moves in this field, he said there will be specific AI strategies in several fields such as the defense industry, health or agriculture.

"We expect from each of our ministries to make their own strategic action plans. For this, we have an executive committee under the chairmanship of the vice president," he said.

The country also created a team for defining institutions' deficiencies and opportunities in the AI field, he added.

For becoming one of top 20 countries globally, Turkey has a great potential -- young population, Koc stressed.

"We will channel this young population into AI technologies. This is our biggest opportunity and chance," he said.

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