Dr. Ömer Fatih Sayan, President of Information and Communication Technologies Authority participated to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society and made a statement on behalf of Turkey. 


Speaking at the UN General Assembly room, ICTA President Sayan stated that “It’s a great pleasure for me to be here for the overall review of implementation of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes. It is a very important gathering to review the progress, achievements, challenges and the way forward in the implementation of the WSIS in last 10 years.” 


Sayan said that “In today’s world, information and communication technologies plays an important role for sustainable growth and development. ICT changes how we do our business, get use of public services, interact with each other and even enjoy our daily lives. We even have our phones connected to internet next to our beds and our daily living habits have changed tremendously in the last 10 years and it seems that it will change more.”


About Turkey

ICTA President Sayan told the audience the point Turkey has come regarding information and communication technologies by stating the following:


“In this context, I am very proud to share Turkey’s major set of goals within her Strategic Vision of 2023 regarding ICT. These goals include expanding the economy to rank among the global top ten; transformation to knowledge-based society; building an international hub for ICTs; maintaining ICT-based economic growth and enhancing high speed broadband access for all.In line with that vision, Turkey takes strong steps in order to create a fully transformed country using ICT in e-Government services. We recently successfully held IMT-Advanced auction by which, operators will provide IMT services enhancing high speed mobile internet and further the value of added mobile services and applications in Turkey. We also aim to give one of the first 5G services by 2020. 

As a G20 member, Turkey hosted G20 Leader’s Summit in Antalya last month. Digital economy was also an important topic in G20 meetings. Digital economy is a growing part of global economy. ICT connectivity affects many sectors and there is a strong relation between ICTs and increase in GDP.

Despite those achievements, digital divide remain in our agenda. We need to find ways and means for affordable access to ICTs. Connectivity must be our core focus. 


There are different models and examples of best practices for financial mechanisms to build connected countries and a connected world. Public-private partnerships, universal service funds, official development assistances should be used to the fullest extent to reach these goals. We give special importance to digital divide and make our regulations not to have the digital divide within Turkey. We believe that development in ICT will stir up all other fields of economic and human development. 


Very recently, United Nations set new targets for the world with its sustainable development goals. We believe that information and communication technologies are among the most important tools to reach these goals. 


For quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth we have to explore and improve ways to use ICTs. For sustainable cities and better social services in every sector, we need to place ICTs into the heart of all our policies.


As information technologies are part of our daily life, upholding human rights especially freedom of speech in the context of internet related policies remain all the more relevant. Intenet government challenges our systems and we are here to find a methodology that is people oriented, innovation and development aimed in a multistake holder approach. All human rights as well as our responsibilities which exist offline, must also be applicable and protected online.


In this regard, we believe that utmost attention should be paid to safety and security of all users in the internet, especially children. 

Today’s children are digital natives, in some respects they are advantageous yet they are also more vulnerable to harmful attacks over the internet. 

Enabling their safety and security is not only our duties towards them, but also an obligation to make future of ICTs safe. Therefore in Turkey special packages to protect children and family are provided by ISPs starting from 2011 free of choice basis and for free of charge.


We Should Protect the Children

All stakeholders should contribute to this end. In the internet usage, there is no mediator between content providers and children. Therefore content providers should act with a balanced approach towards children. They should offer robust, simple and informative reporting mechanisms for internet users. Confidence of every child and young people should be ensured by protecting them from illegal practices of internet with practical measures. 


In today’s world, data usage increases exponentially in both mobile and fixed networks thanks to the new applications, products and services. Especially, network neutrality discussions and Over-the-Top (OTT) services revolutionize the way of delivering ICT services. OTT services create added value, but on the other hand they affect the whole broadband ecosystem, in particular the network operators' revenues and their ability to finance network deployment. We invite all stakeholders and in particular countries which have no specific rules or approaches as to Net Neutrality to discuss these issues to evaluate pros and cons. 


Another hot topic ten years after the WSIS summit is privacy. It is important to provide rules for guaranteeing the right of internet access of the citizens in order to express their opinions freely. It is also equally important to respect privacy and data protection in the internet. We should protect the balance between such kind of personal rights and data-driven innovation and economy. That approach will unlock the economic value of personal data on one side and foster economic growth on the other side. 


We believe that protecting the rights of internet users against illegal content would be a great contribution to the development of internet economy. Internet intermediaries should also fulfill their responsibilities in the implementation of national laws to combat with illegal content of the internet. 

We need to work together to prevent any illegal action, including misuse of internet for terrorist purposes. Social media platforms should not be used as means of propaganda by terrorist organizations. Close cooperation between International Organizations, Governments, NGOs and internet intermediaries is required to combat with illegal use of internet. 


When we take a look at the legacy of WSIS, Internet Governance Forum shines with its success. As the proud host of 9th IGF in 2014 at İstanbul, we are happy to state that IGF defined itself as the annual gathering place for internet governance and provided a platform for all stakeholders to have their say. 


In this respect, we could claim that IGF is a perfect example of multistakeholder internet governance models. In this event, as we extend the mandate of IGF, we believe that IGF also should take a few more steps to forward. We believe that IGF should provide tangible outcomes for all stakeholders. In 2012, Commission on Science and Technology for Development prepared a report on improvements to IGF as a response to requests of Economic and Social Council and General Assembly. 


We believe that it is time to open these recommendations which begins with ‘develop more tangible outputs’ and carefully review them to put IGF into a more relevant and more problem-fixer position.”


A mission comprising Board Members Mr. Celalettin Dinçer, Mr. Hidayet Yıldız, Ms. Figen Kılıç and Vice-president of the Authority Mr. Gazali Çiçek participated to the event along with ICTA President Sayan. 


Outcome Document

An outcome document is adopted at the meeting with the consensus of Member States. In the document which is expected to become a reference document in the work related to implementation of WSIS, a set 71 articles of principles and goals have been accepted. The outcome document handles some hardships and opportunities in access to ICTs, aims to roll out considerable access to ICTs in order to provide information sharing between member states, economic growth and sustainable development. 


About WSIS

WSIS process started with Resolution 73 adopted in the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference at Minneapolis at 1988. With this resolution, it is decided that ITU should present to the UN the proposition of organizing a conference where ICT issues will be discussed. With a resolution of ITU Council 2011, it is concluded that WSIS will be organized with two legs which will be in Switzerland and Tunisia. UN General Assembly adopted document A/RES/56/183 in which, with reference to ITU resolutions, WSIS process is defined as an open-ended intergovernmental process with participation of UN specialized agencies, governments, private sector and civil society under the coordination of ITU.


The first phase of WSIS took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 10 to 13 December of 2003. Geneva Declaration of Principles and Geneva Plan of Action were adopted at the end of the Summit. Declaration of Principles reveals the agreed principles on various topics regarding information society. Declaration of Principles includes short and middle range objectives such as e-science, e-environment, e-health in order to achieve targets set by Declaration of Principles.


Tunis Summit, second phase of WSIS, was held from 16 to 18 November of 2005. In the Tunis Summit, Tunis Commitment and Tunis Agenda for the Information Society were adopeted, and it is decided that all related international organizations (ITU, UNESCO, CSTD), within theirs’ competence, would review the WSIS outcomes for the next 10 years and evaluate the future of WSIS at the end of 10 years.


United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on Review of WSIS +10, held in New York on 15-16 December 2015, is significant because the event is a high level UN meeting, highlights the opportunities the global society will have in the future and outcomes of the event have a political weight.

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