About the Conference


With a record-breaking growth rate of 8.5% in 2011, Turkey’s economy is among the fastest growing the world. Turkey also serves an important role in facilitating market access to the Middle East and North Africa, among other regions and neighboring countries. In this overall climate of economic growth, the information and communication (ICT) sector proves to be a key enabler of and driving force for innovation and entrepreneurship. Turkey’s ICT market in general and the Internet in particular are expanding rapidly. At the same time, the legal and regulatory framework is very much in flux and seeks to catch up—within complex national and cultural constraints—with EU-level standards. The new data protection law, but also proposed cybersecurity legislation as well as controversial debates around appropriate rules for Internet governance are key developments in this thematic zone.

As part of the recently launched global network of interdisciplinary Internet & society centers, Bigli University in collaboration with its international partners is hosting a symposium to explore the impact of ICT laws on innovation and entrepreneurship by analyzing recent developments in Turkey and the region, identifying challenges and opportunities, and sharing lessons learned from other countries. The public meeting is divided into three parts. After a stage-setting keynote speech, a first set of conversations will critically examine the development of the legal and regulatory ICT framework in Turkey, with references to related trends in neighboring countries. The second session will broaden the geographic scope and provide, in the light of the Turkish case study, more general observations and lessons learned from countries around the world with focus on the interplay between ICT and innovation. The third session seeks to synthesize the two perspectives and explore, based on the country studies, the contours of a set of principles for “good policy-making” in the ICT space.

In addition to the main program, the event will be accompanied by a series of side-meetings on selected topics led by international participants of the global network of Internet & society centers.

The symposium will be held as a region-specific event in collaboration with the recently launched global Network of Internet & Society Centers (NoC). The NoC is a collaborative initiative among academic institutions with focus on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet. It aims to increase interoperability between participating centers in order to collectively confront transnational issues on a global level. We hope the Istanbul meeting will serve as an opportunity to talk about the vision of a networked community of international collaborators. Participants are invited to scope and identify mechanisms for collaboration, research, informal coordination, and development of collective capacity around the NoC.