Turkish technology minister says acting in collective responsible manner vital for sustaining global order
Turkey’s industry and technology minister on Thursday called on G20 member states to design an international accountability mechanism for countries which “behaved irresponsible or non-transparent” in times of crisis.
Speaking at an extraordinary virtual meeting of G20 Digital Economy Ministers, Mustafa Varank highlighted the importance of acting in a collective responsible manner to sustain the global order.
He also called on member states to deliver a constructive and result-oriented roadmap to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministers gathered online to discuss effective use of digital economy policies to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Increasing internet connectivity, providing data safety, developing digital R&D projects in healthcare sector, using digital technologies for manufacturing medical supplies and strengthening the resilience of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in global supply chains were among topics addressed during the meeting.
Highlighting that the world economy will suffer the worst year since the Great Depression, Varank said cooperation at the G20 is imperative to save lives and livelihoods alike.
“Additionally, we must design an international accountability mechanism for countries which behaved irresponsible or non-transparent in such times,” Varank stressed.
Touching on Turkey’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus, Varank said Turkey has so far delivered medical supplies to 55 countries.
“Turkey’s ability to achieve this became possible with the visionary leadership of his excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Varank added.
He stressed that the country moved swiftly to tackle the crisis thanks to its sound healthcare system.
“First, we distinguished some of our hospitals as pandemic hospitals.”
“Then, rapidly increased the capacity of our intensive care units.”, he explained.
While many countries face medical equipment shortages, including personal protective equipment, respirators and masks, Turkey took up national emergency initiative for mass production of indigenous ventilators in a two-week period, Varank said.
“Thanks to this effort, we can today allocate a respiratory device for nearly every intensive care bed in Turkey,” he added.
He underlined that digital technologies have been effectively used to fight the pandemic in Turkey, such as a pandemic tracking application which displays the exact status of the outbreak and create risk maps across the country.
“With their consent, individuals can also track their family, get access to social services, and even evaluate themselves for the virus with the help of a few of detailed questions,” Varank noted.
Turkey’s recently launched COVID-19 Technology Platform to coordinate R&D projects for the discovery of new medicines and vaccines is hosting 16 different projects so far, Varank highlighted.
“We are employing big data search techniques, for instance, to identify drug candidates among thousands of molecules with the help of AI,” he said.
Pointing to role of MSMEs on the stability of the global supply chains amid coronavirus, Varank said Turkey supports them to leverage digital technologies in manufacturing and business models.
As of Thursday, Turkey registered a total of 3,174 deaths due to coronavirus whereas nearly 49,000 people have recovered from the disease. Currently, there are 120,204 confirmed cases in the country.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the infection has spread to 187 countries and territories.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 3.25 million while the death toll is over 233,400 and more than 1 million people have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.