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Turkey’s First National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021-2025) Has Been Published

Turkey’s First National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021-2025) Has Been Published

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The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy [“the Strategy”] which was recently announced via a Circular, was unveiled on 24.08.2021 and published by the Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey [“DTO”].

In the Strategy, developments and regulations in various regions of the world in the field of artificial intelligence were examined, and it was stated that Turkey is ready to follow these developments. In this context, academic and technological work in the field of artificial intelligence was comparatively examined and the sharp increase in employment and education in the field of artificial intelligence technologies in recent years was emphasized.

Turkey's current artificial intelligence policy and work in this field were also summarized within the scope of the Strategy. Formation of the National Data Dictionary [“NDD”] was announced in order to standardize data use of public institutions to create data-based decision-making processes in the public sector and to improve cooperation between public institutions. Another project announced within the scope of the Strategy in the field of data is the “Open Government Data Portal”. According to the Strategy, the data produced by public institutions will be anonymized and shared publicly within this portal. It has also been announced that the "Draft Circular on Open State Data" has been prepared to form the legal basis of the publicization of this data.

The necessity of legal regulations that will set an example for the universal legal system concerning individual rights and freedoms was also emphasized within the scope of the Strategy. Increasing the number of qualified legal experts in the field of artificial intelligence by adapting the relevant faculties to new technologies and making regulations regarding legal and criminal liability for artificial intelligence technologies have been determined as a necessity in terms of harmonization with European Union law.

Some values and principles that form the framework of the Strategy and the use of artificial intelligence were also established. Accordingly, for the use of “reliable and responsible” artificial intelligence (i) respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, (ii) improving the environment and the biological ecosystem, (iii) ensuring diversity and inclusion, and (iv) peaceful, just, and interconnected societies were listed as focal points.

In addition to the listed values, within the scope of the Strategy, artificial intelligence should also follow the principles of (i) proportionality, (ii) safety and security, (iii) impartiality, (iv) privacy, (v) transparency and explainability, (vi) responsibility and accountability, (vii) data sovereignty and (viii) multi-stakeholder governance.

Within the framework of these values and principles and the previously determined initiatives of “training AI specialists and increasing employment”, “incentivization of research, entrepreneurship and innovation”, “access to high-quality data and technical infrastructure”, “creating regulations that boost socioeconomical compliance”, “enhancement of international cooperation” and “acceleration of structural changes and changes in the workforce”, many objectives and measures were adopted.

The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Guidance Board [the "Board"], which was previously established with the Circular dated 20.08.2021, will take charge in order to carry out the objectives and measures determined within the Strategy. In addition, the Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem Advisory Group, in which many fields will be represented, will be established and will advise the Board on the direction of the Strategy.

Artificial intelligence technologies, which have raised big question marks among legal scholars in the past, will now be the subject of various legal and administrative regulations with the publication of the Strategy. In this context, the strategy forms the basis of future regulations and determines the basic principles to be followed.

By Zahide Altunbas Sancak, Partner, and Aziz Can Cengiz, Junior Attorney, Guleryuz & Partners

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