Home COVER FILE President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN: “Our goal is to employ a total of 43,000 R&D engineers at Teknopark İstanbul and make it one of the world’s most reputable centres of R&D.”

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN: “Our goal is to employ a total of 43,000 R&D engineers at Teknopark İstanbul and make it one of the world’s most reputable centres of R&D.”

by MSI

Established right next to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport as a partnership of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO), Teknopark İstanbul has been enhancing the facilities and services it provides to entrepreneurs and companies, taking bold steps along the road it started out on with the goal of becoming Turkey’s leading R&D hub.

Supporting the product development efforts of companies engaged in the development of technologies with high added value, especially in the defence, maritime and aerospace sectors, Teknopark İstanbul is today hosting 317 companies. These companies, which include ASELSAN, Turkish Aerospace, TEI, Roketsan, STM, BMC Power, ASPİLSAN Energy, Vestel Defence, YALTES, CTech, ALTINAY, Pavotek, FEMSAN, Armelsan, Kale Aero and FİGES, have been working on a total of 1,769 projects that are illuminating Turkey’s future.

Attracting broad attention with the support it provides to the leading R&D projects in the defence sector, such as the ALTAY Main Battle Tank, AKINCI Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), ANKA UAV, T129 ATAK Multirole Combat Helicopter, as well as the MİLGEM corvette and ANADOLU Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) projects in the naval sector, Teknopark İstanbul houses companies that employ 5,390 qualified R&D personnel, including R&D engineers, 987 of whom hold graduate degrees and 60 of whom have PhDs. Of the engineers employed at Teknopark İstanbul, 41 percent are under the age of 30.

The opening ceremony of the second stage of Teknopark İstanbul was held on 16 February, with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and an accompanying delegation.

Teknopark İstanbul Grows with the Second Stage

The accomplishments of Teknopark İstanbul, which has been working “in Turkey and for Turkey for 10 years”, were crowned with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his accompanying delegation at the Opening Ceremony for the Second Stage of Teknopark İstanbul.

Delivering a speech at the ceremony, President Erdoğan emphasised that pioneering projects in many fields, especially in the defence sector, had emerged out of Teknopark İstanbul. “The collaboration between the Presidency of Defence Industries and the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce has played a significant role in the progress achieved by Teknopark İstanbul to date,” said President Erdoğan, adding: “The studies conducted here have also served as examples to the other technology parks in our country. Our goal is to employ a total of 43,000 R&D engineers at Teknopark İstanbul and make it one of the world’s most reputable centres of R&D.”

Mustafa Varank, Republic of Turkey, Minister of Industry and Technology, said: “We continue to work closely with universities, research infrastructures, technology parks and organised industrial zones, and with the R&D and design centres of the private sector. I hope to reach our goals one by one through a result-oriented communication and coordination mechanism,” and said that he hoped the Second Stage of Teknopark İstanbul would prove to be beneficial.

Providing information about Teknopark İstanbul in his speech, Prof.  Dr.  Metin Yerebakan, Chairman of the Board of Teknopark İstanbul, thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and all related authorities for their support in helping Teknopark İstanbul achieve its current success. Expressing the happiness of Teknopark İstanbul at being able to host President Erdoğan, who defined the technology park as “a source of honour for Turkey”, Prof.  Dr.  Yerebakan said: “Today, our technology park witnessed a historic moment. We have had the opportunity to welcome our President, who has always supported us in the commissioning of our technology park and who has enabled us to accomplish many successes. We have welcomed the chance to tell him about these successes. In this second stage of the project that we are opening today, we aim to create 4,000 additional jobs by the end of 2020. We will continue to contribute to our national economy and our country’s defence power.”

Bilal Topçu, General Manager of Teknopark İstanbul, told MSI TDR that the president’s visit marked a significant milestone in their history, and said: “Here, we host projects that are a source of great pride for our country. The infrastructure and technical facilities we offer to our entrepreneurs and companies allows them to engage in high- and deep-technology based studies. We are proud to be an R&D hub for such outstanding projects, especially in the defence sector.”

TCG HEYBELİADA, the first ADA class corvette built under the MİLGEM project.

The 2020 goals of Teknopark İstanbul, which started the year with a high level of motivation thanks to the presidential visit, are also quite inspiring, as 2020 is the 10th anniversary of Teknopark İstanbul. Stating that they are working on projects that will bring impressive results, Topçu said: “We will take significant steps toward improving the ‘Technology Triangle’ we have defined between the Turkish-Japanese Science and Technology University which will be established adjacent to Teknopark İstanbul, the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE), Gebze Technical University (GTU), the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and the Technology Development Zone. We believe that Marmara Region is of critical importance for our defence industry and our country as a whole, given the great potential for cooperation in this region. To support this with some figures, we can say that 62 percent of Turkey’s Gross Domestic Product is produced in this region, and it is home to 44 percent of the population. The region also hosts 1.9 million undergraduate students and some 400,000 graduate students studying in 71 universities. Furthermore, 30 percent of the 325 Organised Industrial Zones in Turkey, 50 percent of the more than 50,000 industrial enterprises and some 60 percent of the total employment is registered here. The Marmara Region, and particularly Istanbul, is in a prime position to boost Turkey’s defence sector, and all the related sectors, in the future. We established our 2020 vision with this understanding, and are committed to carry out highly effective studies to this end.”

In 2020, the construction of Block A, part of the third stage of the project, will also be completed. This new building, constructed on an area of 32,407 square metres, will consist of two separate wings, one for the Cube Incubation and the other for R&D offices. The block will host Laboratories and Prototype Workshops that will be offered to the service of the incubator companies. One wing in Block A will host R&D offices that will be offered to the use of incubation companies established by the newly graduated. When the construction of all the buildings in stage 3 has been completed, 100 more companies and 4,000 more qualified R&D engineers will be hosted on the campus, and jobs will be created for a total of 9,000 qualified R&D engineers. In addition, the Yeditepe University R&D Centre, Maltepe University R&D Centre and BASF Innovation Centre will also be opened in 2020, signalling rapid growth for Teknopark İstanbul this year.

Teknopark İstanbul Stands Out with its Hosted Clusters

Teknopark İstanbul is host to several clusters (Figure 1), including SAHA İstanbul (Istanbul Defence and Aerospace Cluster Association), İSEK (Istanbul Health Industry Cluster), the Turkish Cyber Security Cluster, HİSER (Turkish Maritime Cluster) and ARGEMİP (R&D Centres Communication and Collaboration Platform), all of which have been undertaking significant works with a view to creating an environment of synergy and establishing productive areas of research together.

These clusters are made up of companies that have come together with the aim of eliminating foreign dependency, increasing the production of indigenous technologies, and establishing an ecosystem that will help Turkey in its efforts in this regard.

Noting that SAHA EXPO exhibition is also of critical value for Teknopark İstanbul, Topçu added: “Teknopark İstanbul has always supported the development of ideas, and attaches great importance to the protection and commercialisation of these ideas. In this sense, we have put great effort into the establishment of the SAHA İstanbul cluster. The fact that the significance of SAHA İstanbul’s works are acknowledged by all industrial segments, and that such a large exhibition has been put into practice, is highly pleasing for us. We, as the R&D hub of the Turkish defence sector, will play a major role in this summit, and will offer our close support to the SAHA İstanbul cluster. We are looking forward to seeing other clusters organising such events. Clusters and the Technology Transfer Offices are integral parts of technology park structures, and we will continue to give our support to this arrangement.”

Teknopark İstanbul also hosts many start-ups that have come up with innovative business ideas at its incubation centre, known as Cube Incubation. Most of these start-ups have set out to reduce our country’s foreign dependency in the field of technology. Since the day it entered into service, Cube Incubation, which is home to enterprises that develop deep technology-based projects, is proud to have hosted start-ups that are followed and invested in by many organisations around the globe as a result of the technologies they are developing. Cube Incubation is home to more than 95 entrepreneur groups engaged in R&D studies of innovative and deep technology-based business ideas. In 2019, the centre accepted 61 entrepreneurs and graduated 20 enterprises , and more than 200 entrepreneurs have now graduated. Furthermore, 70 of the graduate entrepreneurs have gone on to continue their projects in Teknopark İstanbul as an R&D company – a rate  that Technopark İstanbul officials consider to be a global success story.

ALTAY Main Battle Tank
Figure 1. Clusters in Teknopark İstanbul

Teknopark İstanbul Also Active in the International Area

Teknopark İstanbul has formed important links with a number of technology parks abroad (Figure 2). Speaking about the international activities of Teknopark İstanbul, which is a member of many international technology park unions in Europe and around the world, Topçu said: “Since we do not want to be disconnected from other technology parks around the world, we are constantly signing agreements, and closely follow global trends. In doing so, we want to not only develop a technology park-to-technology park relationship, but also form a bridge between the companies within these technology parks. We also want to increase the number of such connections in the future, and to this end, we visited a number of other technology parks with our member companies in 2019. Before each visit, we shared with the respective technology parks information about the companies that would be accompanying us, and they used this information to identify companies that could be a good match for our members. This allowed us to conduct, a number of fruitful B2B meetings that have already produced some satisfactory outcomes.”

Figure 2. Institutions with which Teknopark İstanbul Collaborates Internationally

Furthermore, Teknopark İstanbul hosted many foreign delegations in Turkey throughout the year, and has participated in various summits and events abroad to contribute to the promotion of Turkey’s capabilities in this field.

AKINCI UCAV

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