Turkey seeks to localize critical tech to boost share in value chains

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Turkey is on its way to becoming a global player in the field of technology and industry, Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank said while commenting on the country’s recent progress in developing cutting-edge technology.

Varank’s remarks came in an interview for the February issue of Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research’s (SETA) Kriter magazine.

Noting that Turkey has increased its competitiveness in global markets within the vision of the “National Technology Move,” Varank said they regard this move as a national struggle and “are working hard to make our country a global actor in the field of technology and industry.”

Varank emphasized that the path of a great and powerful Turkey passes through economic and technological independence.

With the Technology-Oriented Industrial Move Program, imports worth $50 billion (TL 678.31 billion) will be prevented, he said.

The minister stressed that Turkey’s ability to produce business models, products and services that can be pioneers in the international arena depends on having a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and that they have enabled the country to have an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem with the investments in the last 15 years.

Pointing out that research and development (R&D) and innovation make up a primary share in these investments, Varank also spoke about the funds they have invested to facilitate startups’ access to financing.

Stating that he is very excited by every new unicorn that emerges, Varank said, “I am incredibly proud that the talent coming out of our country is talked about around the world. Hopefully, the number of unicorns emerging in our country, which is currently five, will reach 10 by the end of 2023. We have the ecosystem that can achieve this.”

Referring to the breakthroughs Turkey has made in the last 20 years for the development of infrastructure, Varank said, “The National Technology Move is both the future, prosperity and independence of this country. Our country has to work devotedly to the realization of this move with all its staff.”

Commenting on the ambitious but critical goals set in the National Space Program, which was revealed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year, Varank said the country is set to achieve all 10 goals by 2030.

“We want to use our hybrid rocket engine developed in the country in our space missions so that we have a competitive product in space,” the minister said.

Tests continue successfully in the development process of the hybrid rocket engine. The design and mission planning processes of the vehicle to be used in the lunar mission have also started. Varank said the design process of the domestic propulsion system to be used in the spacecraft began this year.

Varank further commented that Turkey’s first electric car, Togg, made a global impact at the Consumer Electronics Fair (CES) in the United States.

Reiterating that the first mass-production vehicle is scheduled to come off the production line in the last quarter of 2022, Varank said, “After the completion of the technical qualification processes called homologation, the SUV vehicle in the electric C segment will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2023.”

Varank also pointed out that the National Artificial Intelligence 2021-2025 Strategy was shared with the public last year.

“We aim to share our work on mobility, smart life and health, 5G technologies and digitalization as soon as possible. 2022 is a critical year in which our new strategies will start to be implemented,” he said.

On the defense side, Varank said, after the successful R&D processes of Turkey’s first national within-visual-range air-to-air missile (WVRAAM), Bozdoğan, along with Gökdoğan, another homegrown system, a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), aircraft firing tests were carried out, noting: “We have reached the final stages in the liquid-fueled RAMJET project.”

“Hopefully in 2022, we will reveal a Ramjet Engine prototype operating at supersonic speeds,” the minister said.

Varank explained that as a ministry focused on the defense industry, it provides important support to the private sector as well as the projects they carry out through the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK).

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