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National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021-2025) Has Been Published

National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021-2025) Has Been Published

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. In this article, we provide a brief summary of the 104-page long Strategy document which sets out national objectives in the field of AI until the year 2025.

The Strategy examines developments and regulations in various regions of the world in the field of AI , and that Turkey is ready to follow these developments. In this context, academic and technological work is comparatively reviewed and the sharp increase in employment and education in the field in recent years is emphasized.

Turkey's current AI policy and work in this field are also summarized within the scope of the Strategy. It is understood that a “National Date Dictionary will be established 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 in the field of data is the “Open Government Data Portal”. According to the Strategy, data produced by public institutions will be anonymized and shared publicly within this portal.  Moreover, the “Draft Circular on Open State Data” is being 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 is also emphasized in the Strategy. Increasing the number of qualified legal experts in the field of AI by adapting the relevant faculties to new technologies and making regulations regarding legal and criminal liability for AI technologies is deemed as a necessity in terms of harmonization with European Union law.

The Strategy also sets out a number of values and principles that form the framework of AI usage. Accordingly, for the use of “reliable and responsible” AI (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 should be treated as reference points. In addition to the foregoing, AI 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.

Previously, main initiatives of the Strategy were determined as “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 are now set out within the scope of the Strategy to realize each of the aforementioned initiatives.

The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Guidance Board [the "Board"], which was previously established with the Circular dated 20.08.2021, will take charge to carry out the objectives and measures determined in 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.

It is understood that AI technologies, which have raised substantial debate 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.