Turkey is ranked 20th on the Global Cyber Security Index as a result of the country’s efforts to strengthen its sovereignty in the cyber domain, the country’s vice president said on Monday.

“As a result of our efforts to strengthen our sovereignty in the ‘cyber nation’, we have grown by 23 ranks in the Global Cyber Security Index and ranked 20th in the world,” Fuat Oktay said at a Cyber Security Week event in Ankara.

The five-day cybersecurity event, which began on Monday, will host more than 100 speakers, including top officials and experts, to discuss a variety of topics. Although the event only approved limited participation, it is being broadcast live through online channels.

He vowed to further strengthen human resources capacity in cybersecurity and to be among the world’s top 10 countries.

Oktay thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he pioneered before many nations the development and strengthening of cybersecurity infrastructure in Turkey.

“Turkey is among the countries that have made significant progress in technical, legal and organizational aspects of cybersecurity,” he said.

Underlining the importance of security in the cyber domain, he said Turkey needs to protect the data and information as it protects its borders.

“We are focused on high-level technological measures to eliminate cyber [security] capacity building and attacks in the fastest way possible,” he added.

“We have to lead cyber developments with our domestic and national infrastructures by closely following the developments in cyberspace,” he said.

Digital data security

Digital data security is just as important as border security for countries, said Ali Taha Koc, head of the Digital Transformation Office.

During the pandemic, the increased use of video conference applications also generated risks of data hacking, he said. Turkey has developed indigenous applications after 500,000 users’ account were hacked through a well-known application, he noted.

“We now focused on indigenous applications, and through these applications we arranged our meetings and events,” he said.

Weapons fall short of security 

Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency, said the Turkish Cyber Security Cluster’s main mission is to create an environment to fulfill the country’s cybersecurity requirements with indigenous products.

Weapons are not enough to provide protection to a country, but a holistic approach, covering a number of fields, such as electricity, telecommunications, information technology (IT), agriculture and medicine, is essential, he stressed.

Omer Fatih Sayan, the deputy transport and infrastructure minister, said protecting IT infrastructure is an obligation for national security.

Qualified and skilled human power is one of the most important challenges in the area of cybersecurity. Turkey organizes competitions to find and employ talented young people, he said.

Mehmet Fatih Kacir, the deputy industry, and technology minister, said Turkey focuses on data protection, safe information sharing, keeping data traffic locally and preventing foreign dependency on IT products.

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