"If we achieve domestic and national production, our confidence increases, if we succeed in efficient production, we become stronger, we grow. And as a result, we can compete, take risks, manage risk without leaving ourselves to the management of others. In this context, our industrialist should not worry, he should work harder and be part of this transformation process in our country. As a state, we stand with our industrialist with all our energy", and we had a nice interview with The Ministry of Industry and Technology Istanbul Provincial Manager High Architect Umit ÜNAL.

Can we get to know Umit ÜNAL, Istanbul Provincial Director of the Ministry of Industry and Technology?
I was born in Sivas in 1968. I am a graduate of Trakya University, Sabahttin Zaim University, Master of Architecture USA. After serving as Sultanbeyli Municipality Zoning Directorate, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Zoning and Planning Directorate, Istanbul Provincial Special Administration Deputy Secretary General, I have been serving as Istanbul Industrial and Technology Provincial Directorate since 2017.

Istanbul has an important place in the industry of our country. What are your studies as provincial directorate?

One-third of our country's industrial production is made from Istanbul. Turkey's largest industrial, commercial, transportation, advertising and economic institutions are in Istanbul. 42 of turkey's 100 largest industrial enterprises and 250 of the 500 largest organizations are in Istanbul. There are approximately 32,000 enterprises registered in the industrial registry system in our province.Istanbul contributes to the country's economy with 8 organized industrial zones and 9 small industrial sites. In this sense, the importance of Istanbul for our country's industry is obvious. These figures reveal the magnitude of our responsibility as Istanbul Industrial and Technology Provincial Directorate. We carry out all the works that fall under the responsibility of our Ministry in our province. We are focused on high technology and domestic production at the point where the world conjuncture brings us today. In line with these priorities, we play a complementary role in the work of our Ministry in the stages of policy-making, guiding, promoting and financially supporting implementation processes. In addition, market supervision and audit studies are carried out by the auditors of our Provincial Directorate in order to use safe products for our citizens. While our Measurements and Adjustment Unit carries out the first and periodic inspections of measuring instruments, our Industrial Registry Unit provides services for the issuance of the industrial registration certificate, which provides various exemptions and advantages for our industrialists and is required by law to be obtained.

SMEs in Istanbul are scattered throughout the city. When we talk to SMEs, it is stated that there are problems with rent and land in OSBs. The ministry has an action plan on this issue. Can you tell us about the studies carried out?
As the Ministry and provincial directorate, we are always cooperating with our industrialists. Their demands are important to us. Taking into account the notifications of industrialists regarding OSBs, the OSB Implementation Regulation was renewed and published in the Official Gazette and entered into force. Our Minister Varank stated that this new regulation, which has been simplified and shortened, paves the way for OSBs to become more investment-friendly production areas. Now osb land allocation processes will be accelerated, OSBs will share information about unallocated parcels with everyone in a complete and accurate manner. Speculative land allocation and sales will be prevented. Applications for land allocation by investors will be finalized within 30 days. If the investor is rejected, he or she and the Ministry will be notified of the reasoned decision within 15 days. We think that complaints will be prevented with these applications that come with the new Regulation.

There were communication problems between the state and SMEs. In particular, a number of individuals under the name of "KOSGEB Consultancy" from outside victimized the companies. Our minister has made statements regarding the SME Guide. What would you like to say about that?

In fact, the problem is not caused by miscommunication between the state and SMEs. The problem is due to the lack of qualified staff in SMEs. SMEs used different mechanisms to address these shortcomings. Although there were SMEs within this system that could reach the right companies or names, there were also victims. In order to address their grievances, the Regulation on SME Guidance and Technical Consultancy Services was prepared and published in the Official Gazette and entered into force. Thus, SME guides and technical consultants with trained and field experience will serve to assist SMEs in project preparation and execution processes. With the introduction of the system, 200 SME guides and 2,400 Technical Advisors will start working in the field in the first place. This system will pave the way for SMEs to share more efficiently with KOSGEB.

There is a shortage of intermediate staff in the manufacturing industry. Do you have any work on this subject as the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of the Ministry of Industry and Technology?
Qualified human resources are among the demands of SMEs in our country. Public, private sector, university and civil society cooperation is very important for the preparation of training programs in accordance with the world conjuncture and the training of qualified human resources needed in the industry. In order to achieve this, the Vocational Education Cooperation Protocol was signed on January 25, 2019 with the participation of our Ministry of National Education, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Istanbul Chamber of Industry and Istanbul Technical University. The Cooperation Protocol aims to increase the quality of graduates by creating educational programs in vocational and technical schools in Istanbul together with the umbrella organizations and universities of the sector, thereby eliminating the qualified elman gap.

Apart from this protocol, the need for qualified intermediate staff within the scope of Public-University-Industry Cooperation studies is always at the top of the list of issues we are looking for solutions. We take steps to meet the need with periodic projects and trainings.
As the Ministry of Industry, very important incentives are offered to SMEs. However, liquidity shortages are constantly on the agenda. What could be the reason for that?
SMEs make up 99% of Turkey's industry. 95% of the enterprises in Turkey are family companies. And unfortunately, the lifespan of family companies in our country is 25 years on average. The competitive environment triggered by the globalized world will shorten this time. In this environment, our SMEs, most of which are family-run, need to be able to realize institutionalization in order to survive in order to compete in order to protect their assets. In fact, the problem of inability to institutionalize is at the root of the liquidity shortage. In addition, our industrialists need to create a strategic plan for their businesses in order to see ahead. Numerous incentives are offered to SMEs by our Ministry and related organizations. However, some SMEs do not follow incentives, some do not want to follow incentive procedures, some receive incentives but do not use them correctly. But our industrialists have become a little more aware than in the past years. I believe they will benefit more efficiently from incentives in the future.

You have serious work to do on protecting domestic production and the end consumer. Poor quality imported products were prevented from entering the country. How many products were turned down in 2018?
As the Ministry, we continue our market surveillance and audit efforts to protect the consumer. Last year, 21,700 product groups were given nonconformity under the umbrella of the General Directorate of Industrial Product Safety and Inspection of our Ministry. In addition, compliance audits are carried out in import groups by the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE), the relevant institution of our Ministry.

Last year, 36,896 parts were inspected by TSE. In these audits, it is noted that the products that are most attached to the standard limit are lighting products.

At the beginning of these audits, which started in July 2017, the nonconformity rate was 40 percent and today it is around 4 percent. We can say that inappropriate imported products can no longer reach the consumer. As the public side, we monitor unsafe products, but our citizens also need to be aware of product safety and we recommend that they do not buy undocumented products.

There is a serious work with the motto Of National Technology, Strong Industry. R&D and R&D are of great importance. What kind of work is there at this point?
We spent 2017-2018 very actively in the context of establishing the infrastructure for the production of high-tech, high-value-added domestic and national products in Turkey in the context of the Vision of National Technology, Strong Industry. At the core of our development plans, laws and regulations; it is aimed to increase investments based on technology and R&D and to support domestic and national production. The figures announced by TURKSTAT at the end of 2018 are significant in terms of seeing the point reached. In 2017, the number of full-time employees in R&D activities reached 153 thousand. In addition, R&D expenditures in our country increased by 21 percent and increased to 30 billion Liras. When TURKSTAT releases the figures for 2018, we will see that the situation is much better. 61 Technology Development Zones are actively working. There are 11 TGB in our province, 6 of which are active. The number of R&D centers in Turkey has reached 1082 and the number of Design Centers has reached 321. Istanbul province ranks first with 389 R&D centers and 149 design centers. In order to achieve this development, incentive programs were implemented, companies were visited, education and awareness raising studies were carried out, meetings on successful implementation examples were organized, and public-university-industry cooperation studies were focused… In short, a lot of effort was made towards achieving the goal. 2019 will be a year of similar work.We will accelerate the growth process in line with our vision with a holistic approach by supporting all processes from R&D to commercialization of the product.

The world is about to move to Industry 5.0. We're talking about Industry 4.0 right now. What are your collaborations with industrialists?

While we are trying to reach Industry 4.0, we see that work is being carried out on industry 5.0 (super smart society) in the Pacific. This new model is planned to ensure the most efficient relationship of humans with machines and robots. Therefore, the effect of digitalization and robots is evaluated in demographic, economic, ethical and sociological aspects. A new era is under way from the Internet of Things regulating the relationship between humans and robots. As a country, we need to work harder as all parties to achieve this transition. It requires a change of consciousness. Therefore, it is insufficient for us to cooperate only with industrialists in this transformation process. Everyone in our country from seven to seventy needs to be ready for this change. Teknofest, held in Istanbul last year, is promising for all of us. When we looked at the participants, there were students, engineers, housewives, children and even grandparents. Keeping this spirit alive and providing the necessary support mechanisms will make this transformation a dream for our country. Coding lessons are now offered in our schools from preschool groups. A generation that is more proficient in technology than we are is growing up. In this sense, I firmly believe that our country will grow out of this process when we add turkey's young population dynamics.

We see that our companies are not able to fully manage perception, especially at prestigious fairs and events held abroad. Do you, as a state, have activities in promoting critical sectors?
I think we have very successful businesses that can manage perceptions of their sectors. Therefore, it would be unfair to put all businesses in the same category.

As a guide in policies and practices, our Ministry also carries out cooperation activities between countries. Germany, United Arab Emirates, Uk, France and Italy are among the first in Turkey's export figures. Efforts are underway to improve inter-country trade at the level of ministries. However, as the Provincial Directorate, we also establish one-to-one relations with the authorities of Sudan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. For example, in order to strengthen the relations between the two countries, we plan to organize a joint exhibition and industrial summit with Saudi Arabia for 2019 with the knowledge of our Ministry.

What would you like to say for 2019? What will be the impact of trade wars on our country? Is it possible to turn what happened into a plus? What advice would you give to our companies?

At a time when the world is defined as a "global village", countries live a life that is connected economically, socially and politically. In this environment, of course, countries can no longer live their lives closed to them. These intricate relationships have many positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, our industrialists can reach different markets and on the other hand, they are affected by crises in different countries. We can't stop this. However, if we, individually, as businesses and as the country's government, take the necessary measures, we can manage to protect ourselves and turn crises into opportunities. If we achieve domestic and national production, we will increase our confidence, if we succeed in efficient production, we will grow stronger and grow. And as a result, we can compete, take risks, manage risk without leaving ourselves to the management of others. In this context, our industrialist should not worry, he should work harder and be part of this transformation process in our country.


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