top of page
  • Writer's pictureKerem Odabaşı

Intellectual migration or intellectual cooperation?

Updated: May 22, 2021

Translated by

What should be our approach to the brain drain, which affects our country negatively, in this new era of information age and then a booming distance of communication and interaction?

My father's oldest brother, Uncle Halis, was a very successful atomic physics professor. Unfortunately, I say “if” because our interaction with him was very limited since he immigrated to America so many years ago and lived there until the end of his life by establishing his family, and I did not have the chance to discover this valuable side of him enough. Years after his death, his world-famous teacher Prof. I learned about the existence of the book "Atomic Structure" that Condon co-authored. Years after the death of my uncle, I had the chance to buy this book from for the first time. Unfortunately, as an interested nephew, a research engineer, I learned about this valuable book. it was too late to exchange and fulfill the longing of the years.

Why could we not win these valuable people to our country? It is very nice that they go for training and experience for a certain period of time, but why can't we provide an environment where they can return and grow their gains here? I have not heard from my family that my uncle also came to Turkey many times before the establishment of TÜBİTAK, gave lectures at Boğaziçi University between 1971 and 1980, and returned again because the promise of establishing a research institute that he received from the political and bureaucrats of the period was not fulfilled, not from my family. After graduating from ITU computer engineering in 2002, I had the chance to do my master's degree at TU-Delft in the Netherlands with a scholarship. Later, I started working on an innovative project I presented myself in an international company in the Netherlands. How was the decision to immigrate to Turkey after four years, although my career path was clear ...

At that time, although I was well nourished by the west in terms of education and culture, I was curious about the eastern culture and felt a hunger for this deficiency. That is why I turned to the east before establishing my own order in Turkey; I must admit that a year of uninterrupted exploration and traveling, from the nomadic tents of Central Asia to the master crafts of Japan, has contributed a lot to my present vision (Related News Article). We Turks are a powerful synthesis, so to speak, hybrid of east and west in a common pot. A lot will be possible if we can strengthen the positive aspects of these two rooted civilizations reflected on our behavior and eliminate their disadvantages… I would like to explain this strategically important understanding in detail in another article.

On the way back home, I asked myself the question of if America's New York is Turkey's Istanbul, where Turkey could be the center of creative technologies and new startups (startups), San Francisco. Considering its technical potentials such as its structure away from traffic and stress, being an important port city, colorful cosmopolitan culture coming from history and Izmir Institute of Technology, I thought that it might be Izmir and I anchored in Izmir. From that day to this day, in the last 10 years, has İzmir been able to reveal its potential? It is a fact that in recent years it has received a national brain drain and several technology companies have opened offices in Izmir to create an alternative for their employees, but unfortunately, it is far from being one of the few centers on the international platform. It is possible to propose ideas for a long time in order to prevent brain drain and to ensure the return of valuable minds to the country. This approach should take its place among the priority policies of our state and should be maintained strategically and sustainably. However, can the current direction of this current be reversed by rapidly changing the existing environment quality and opportunities offered by our country from today to tomorrow? Transforming our existing possibilities at once is not possible because it also requires infrastructure and physical (hardware) development. First of all, we need to change our understanding (software) and it is quite possible for us to fold and scale the effect of this (scalability). How Does? We can begin by clearing our understanding from the limits set forth by physicality. In the past, physical distance brought distancing from mind and heart. We lived an example of this in our own family, when technological communication facilities were limited. However, today I see that many of my friends living abroad follow the Turkish agenda better than me through online news and social media. Although he has established his life order there, it is possible to maintain a bond of mind and heart in a way to be the first to be informed of instant developments. Compared to the previous century, the rate of news received from the dormitory has dropped from weeks to milliseconds.

Well, if this valuable “brain” can communicate across borders at the speed of light over fiber cables, is it a disadvantage to be physically elsewhere as much as it used to be? At this point, we need to update our software. Can the disadvantage of this physical distance be minimized and even turned into an advantage? Maybe…

The concept of “networking”, which means establishing a communication network, has become a form of behavior that we all know and internalize from daily social life to today's business world. Imagine you have a connection with its own local network in every university, startup and giant institution all over the world. And this person exchanges information, passes business, purchases products, establishes cooperation with you with the aim of social and economic advancement of his country where his heart beats…

He even works full-time for your company from the other side of the world, writes software, engages in marketing activities or designs the industrial design of your new autonomous vehicle. And while doing these, it uses all the means of interaction of technology. With the 5G technology, the speed of the arrival of the news, the follow-up of the work and the reaction of the other party will be below 1 millisecond from one hundred milliseconds. When we come to this point, our understanding (software) must be structured in a way that will extract the greatest benefit from this hardware technological power. Let's focus on how we can include our lost brains in our social and business network, how we can produce economic value or social benefit for our country with them, albeit from a distance, and as a result of these, how we can offer these special minds.

Our adaptation skills, which emerged with the synthesis of western and eastern, are very strong. As long as we can transform this talent into a common good with organized and strategic thinking.

33 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page