The country hopes to defend its citizens from cyberattacks through a set of new measures.
As Turkey has faced 325,000 cyberattacks in the last three years, Ankara rolled out a new national cybersecurity plan on Tuesday.
Signed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the plan underlined the role of information technology in sustainable development and also raised a caution about the risks that come with it.
The action plan stated that cyber threats may negatively affect all sectors including communications, transport, energy, banking, finance and health. Therefore, it added, measures were accelerated to tackle the increasing threats in cyberspace.
Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministry has prepared an action plan for the 2020-2023 period in coordination with the NGOs, universities, public and private sectors.
Turkey's National Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan include 40 actions and 75 implementation steps in relation to strategic objectives.
The main aims of the plan are to protect the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, to develop national technological tools for operational needs and to enhance the competencies of teams fighting cyber threats.
Ankara in February inaugurated the National Cybersecurity Intervention Center (USOM) as part of efforts to boost cybersecurity. USOM is a subsidiary of the state-run Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK), and has been dubbed as an outpost for the country's defence against cyberattacks.
The center is working in collaboration with internet service providers and telecom operators, particularly against denial-of-service attacks. USPM is a part of a network set up by BTK that also includes a data centre and an academy to train cybersecurity experts. The center will also employ police and gendarmerie officers to establish easy coordination between different branches of law enforcement.
There are currently 150 experts on board and USOM works with crews in public agencies, companies and private companies against the attacks. It taps into locally made software like Avci, Azad and Kasirga to stave off threats.
Thanks to the indigenous applications called Avci, Azad and Kasirga, Turkey was able to prevent 325.000 cyberattacks, said the country’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu.
According to the written statement published by the minister, the Avci software developed by the BTK allows the command and control centre to monitor threats and systems that could be affected by harmful software. Azad, on the other side, detects slave computers through artificial intelligence and Kasirga supervises open resources on the internet.
Karaismailoglu also added that the Global Cybersecurity Index’s (GCI) 2019 report revealed that Turkey has become and ranked as one of the world’s 20 most secure countries in this field. Ankara has also ranked as the 11th in Europe.
The minister said that as a result of these studies, Turkey has taken its place among the number of countries in the world in cyber security.
The action plan of the ministry highlighted Turkish President Erdogan’s previous comments on the issue in which he said; “Information and communications technologies that have become an inseparable part of our life by becoming more widespread and developing by the day offer us many opportunities whereas they also bring together cybersecurity risks”.
“As in many other fields, we will carry our country further at the international level in the field of cybersecurity as part of our 2023 goals,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
Addressing citizens following the Presidential Cabinet Meeting on Monday, Turkey’s President Erdogan drew attention to the responsibility of states to protect their citizens’ digital data and services.
“We actually took the first step in this direction with the formation of the National Computer Emergency Response Center about seven years ago,” President Erdogan said.
“Taking into consideration current needs and threats, we have also taken action to set out a new strategy with a comprehensive and holistic approach regarding our country’s cybersecurity policies. We have shaped our strategy with an indigenous and national approach since we have, in the recent period, faced obstructions, some overt others covert, in the areas of, inter alia, digital infrastructures and cybersecurity,” he added.
The president also announced Turkey’s plan to launch its first communication satellite in 2022 into space.
“We are building a strong and deterrent infrastructure by developing our own national cybersecurity technologies. In line with our aim to become a country steering technology, we will defend our sovereign rights in every area from the blue homeland to cyberspace,” he said.