3 ways Turkey is transforming its cities


A series of smart projects is slowly seeping its way across Turkey’s cities with one goal in mind: transforming the country into a digital hub. Part of Turkey’s 2023 Goals, these smart city concepts are stemming from years of investments in smart technology, which will save the country billions of euros annually, as well as provide the infrastructure necessary to fuel these future-focused technologies. From world-class data centres in Gebze to smart applications in cities like Kars and Karaman, here are three ways, in particular, Turkey is transforming its cities and becoming an information technologies leader in the region.— Philippe Leonard


-New Data Centres: Just south of Istanbul in the city of Gebze, the country’s largest data centre has debuted spanning an area of 33,000 m2. With a goal to propel Istanbul in the spotlight as the regional data hub for global companies like Google and Facebook, this new data centre offers the infrastructure needed to operate state-of-the-art technology thanks to 33,000 metres of fiber connections. The centre, which has tripled its total data centre space to 52,000 m2, is just the first in a series, with plans to expand to Turkey’s second- and third-largest cities, Ankara and Izmir.

-5G Developments: Companies such as Turkcell have also unveiled a NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network across the country that uses its LTE-A infrastructure to connect different services and industries, such as the education and healthcare sectors. With this infrastructure in place, applications can assist with everything from smart agriculture and automatic irrigation that improves crop yield to smart waste management and remote energy monitoring. In cities such as Izmir and Ankara in particular, Intelligent Transportation Systems are being installed to provide solutions such as solar-powered bus stops with digital arrival boards and traffic light systems that work according to traffic density, all of which could benefit and thrive from these future 5G networks.

-Smart Applications: Telecommunications company Türk Telekom, meanwhile, is turning to new-generation application development in fields such as smart transportation, smart environment, smart life, smart economy, smart society and smart management concepts, with the goal of extending applications across all of Turkey’s 81 provinces. Applications have already rolled out in Kars, Karaman and Antalya, where more than 700,000 people have benefitted from wireless communication. These smart cities are also serving as test grounds for IoT pilot projects. One, in particular, is tracking health data obtained from wearable devices monitoring 500 individuals 24/7. In addition, these cities are showing significant improvements in areas such as traffic, decreasing waiting time by 25 percent, as well as energy and water solutions for savings of up to 30 percent.

With the debut of these new networks and data centres, Turkey is building a strong infrastructure that can handle large amounts of data and facilitate the development and deployment of smart city applications, which will spread from these pilot cities into other areas across the country.