Turkey - Country Commercial Guide
Smart City Technology Equipment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-12-07


Smart City projects in Turkey are fewer in number than in the United States and many European countries. There are therefore opportunities for new projects using U.S. exports. Limited funding and qualified human resources are the main obstacles. A lack of Global Information Systems (GIS) infrastructure is another challenge; only 3% of Turkish municipalities have completed their GIS investments or implemented GIS systems. Many cities, however, have introduced smart applications, particularly in transport and urban services.

Accessing services through electronic channels and e-government is the most popular application among municipalities, however smart applications in the fields of energy and water management are much needed. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and GIS applications, particularly by electric utilities, water, and sewage administrations, are also needed in major Turkish cities. Smart metering is still in the early stages. To facilitate the development of smart cities in Turkey, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (MinEnv) established a Smart Cities and Geospatial Technologies Department under the Directorate General of Geospatial Informatics, Planning and Coordination, Application and Development. This department has developed a National Smart City Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2022 and leads all national smart city applications, such as city information system software and 3D data modeling development software, both of which will be used by all municipalities and central government organizations.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Smart Energy

Smart grid systems deployment has begun in Turkey, and the stages of implementation vary from one DISCO to another. Most have deployed SCADA and GIS systems. DISCOs utilize smart grid deployment to decrease losses while increasing reliability and quality. The Turkey Smart Grid 2023 Vision and Strategy Roadmap established several targets for full smart grid system implementation in Turkey. Several DISCOs have received approval to implement pilot projects using new methods of storing various types of energy. DISCOs are also planning for electric vehicle charging stations, the standards for which will be established by the EMRA. The GoT intends to replace 30% of the 7.5 million streetlights in Turkey with smart LED lighting systems by 2023. This change is estimated to help save the GoT more than $40 million, and over $130 million with further LED conversion in the coming years.

Smart Mobility

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are being installed in many Turkish cities. However, other than in major cities such as Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara, the majority are in the early stages. The Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure stated in its 2013-2023 Action Plan that all cities will implement smart traffic light systems according to traffic density; green wave systems where cars, after encountering one red light, pass through subsequent green lights when maintaining a specific speed; digital traffic signs; and solar powered bus stops with digital arrival time boards.

Currently, all smart transportation projects are planned and implemented by local municipalities. Since there is no central ITS institution, it is not possible to obtain the total amount of spending or planned spending for all projects in Turkey.

Some implementations are as follows: Ankara has smart bus stops, an online traffic density map, and an online tracking system for fire department vehicles. In 2018, Izmir implemented the most advanced ITS system in the country - the Fully Adaptive Traffic Management System – and continues to upgrade it. This system includes fully adaptive smart intersections; online traffic density maps for passengers/drivers; special traffic lights, such as talking lights, for the disabled; and an enforcement system to track speed/parking/lights, fully automated parking system etc. E-payment cards are used on all modes of transportation, including ferries, busses, trains, and metros. Istanbul has an intelligent signalization system, electronic enforcement system, traffic congestion and emergency management center, talking roads and talking vehicles (connected vehicles), an automated parking system with unmanned payment points, e-payment cards, smart bus stops, and special info points at bus stops for the disabled via cards. Other cities have shared bicycle systems (Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Erzincan, Kocaeli, Yalova). Some cities including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Mersin, Antalya, Bursa, Eskisehir have shared e-scooter systems. E-cards are used in both highly populated (e.g., Istanbul) and smaller (e.g., Mardin) cities. ITS systems are utilized partially in Eskisehir, Konya, Mardin, Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Sakarya, Yalova, Kars, Edirne, and Manisa.

At the beginning of 2020, Gaziantep completed an ITS system called “Bluetooth Technology” to predict and analyze neighborhood-based arrival times by sharing messages, and signs with the drivers. The Izmir Metropolitan Municipality launched its Minute Car Rental Service, with 200 vehicles, that operates with an application downloaded to smart phones and offers the opportunity to rent a car.

Smart Infrastructure

Turkey’s accession process to the European Union, though currently frozen, has been a major impetus for large-scale environmental remediation and implementation of new environmental standards. Local municipalities play an important role in recycling, water purification, waste-sewage treatment, environmental remediation, and solid waste management.

Preventing water loss is a priority for Turkish municipalities. The water authorities of some large and industrialized cities have implemented SCADA systems to identify water losses and network failures. However, this system needs to be expanded to less developed regions of Turkey as well. Restoration of the sewage network and treatment of sewage sludge are also important. Moreover, the textile, cement, iron/steel, chemical, food processing and automotive sectors will need to make investments in wastewater treatment.

With respect to waste management and recycling, Turkey is mostly in line with European legislation; however, it lacks source separation recycling. Although not an EU member, Turkey’s candidacy requires harmonization of environmental regulations with EU standards. Alignment with EU standards creates an environmental infrastructure and technologies market that will ultimately be worth $96 billion. Such alignment should be complete by 2024. Although there are recycling facilities, more development of regional solid waste processing and recycling facilities and sanitary landfills is needed. The GoT also plans to remediate and upgrade existing unsanitary landfills. With an initiative of President Erdogan’s wife, Emine Erdogan, government buildings, including the public schools and hospitals, are expected to switch to source separation recycling, which will advance the whole system when fully implemented. In 2022, the government intends to start plastic waste collection directly from the public by incentivizing people with deposit payback. However, industry contacts do not believe there is enough preparation to start this project in 2022 and it will therefore likely be postponed again. In some major cities, waste-to-energy systems are being implemented. Private sector companies and organized industrial zones are also among potential buyers.

Turkey, with a robust plastic manufacturing industry in need of raw materials, became a major plastic waste importer after China stopped buying. Regulations for such imports change very often, because there are some controversies around imported plastic waste being disposed of improperly by bad actors. Based on such incidents, Greenpeace Turkey and similar NGOs campaigning to stop plastic waste imports were successful in pressuring the government to put new restrictions in place. Plastic recycling companies now only can import 50% of their raw material to encourage the usage of local plastic waste. Turkey also recently banned the importation of ethylene polymer type plastic waste as well as the mixed plastic waste. The plastic industry is pressuring the government to change the regulations to maintain the Turkish plastic industry’s competitiveness. Despite restrictions, the recycling market still needs foreign expertise and technology creating opportunities for U.S. companies.

Regarding the air pollution controls subsector, Turkey has made great strides in improving the monitoring of air quality and has instituted a national air pollution monitoring program. The main sources of ambient air pollution in Turkey are thermal energy generation through coal-fired power plants, home heating units, motor vehicles, and industrial sources. The government is requiring the installation of flue gas desulfurization units on all new and existing power plants, opening high-value projects in the air pollution control market.


In 2016 and 2018, the World Bank approved loans ($133 million and $91.5 million, respectively) for the Sustainable Cities I and II Projects in Turkey. This program aims to improve the economic, financial, environmental, and social sustainability of Turkish cities by enabling interested municipalities to access financing for their investments and to deliver improved services to their citizens. In May 2019, when all prior funds had been committed, an additional $560 million was approved to scale up projects in the program. The funds are assisting cities by financing investments in infrastructure needed to meet service delivery requirements in the water and wastewater systems, public transport, waste management, and energy services and other areas. U.S. companies can participate in these projects as vendors to the municipalities.

In 2021, Istanbul became the third Turkish city after Izmir and the capital Ankara to join the EBRD Green Cities Program, which identifies, prioritizes, and connects cities’ environmental challenges with sustainable infrastructure investments and policy measures. As a first step, Istanbul and the EBRD will start developing a Green Cities Action Plan to assess, prioritize and address the city’s main environmental challenges through policy reforms and investments. This will allow for a greener and more sustainable vision for the future of Istanbul and its 16 million inhabitants. In support of this goal, the EBRD will provide financial support to the construction of a new 14 km metro line connecting the east and west of the city. The EBRD and Istanbul will also work together to identify investment opportunities in green infrastructure priority areas such as urban regeneration, solid waste management, water and wastewater, urban roads and lighting, urban transport, public building energy efficiency, renewable energy, and power infrastructure energy efficiency. Ankara remains in the first phases of the same program. However, Izmir was the first Turkish city to join this program. Turkey’s first Green City Action Plan was prepared for Izmir. A syndicated loan of EUR 105 million was provided to Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, which will be used for the construction of the Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere metro line with a total length of 7.2 kilometers including underground stations and electromechanical works.

In 2020, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) launched the U.S.–Turkey Next Generation Cities Initiative to support the development of smart cities across Turkey. The Initiative streamlines access for Turkish partners to the most innovative smart cities solutions that U.S. companies have to offer and will be executed in cooperation with the U.S. Commercial Service. Under this initiative, USTDA already has awarded four grants to support smart cities development in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, and Gaziantep. In 2021, USTDA will be supporting four more projects under smart city, IT, and 5G topics and is now accepting project proposals.

EXIM Bank also supports U.S. exports to Turkey and has several programs to support sustainable and green technologies. EXIM Bank is authorized to establish a new “Program on China and Transformational Exports”. The Program’s purpose is to support the extension of loans, guarantees, and insurance, to the extent practicable, that are fully competitive with the rates, terms, and other conditions established by the People’s Republic of China or by other covered countries. The law charges EXIM Bank with a goal of reserving not less than 20% of the agency’s total financing authority (i.e., $27 billion out of a total of $135 billion) for support made pursuant to the program to advance the comparative leadership of the United States with respect to China, or support U.S. innovation, employment, and technological standards through direct exports in any of the following industries:

· Artificial intelligence.

· Biotechnology.

· Biomedical sciences.

· Wireless communications equipment (including 5G or subsequent wireless technologies).

· Quantum computing.

· Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage.

· Semiconductor and semiconductor machinery manufacturing.

· Emerging financial technologies (including technologies that facilitate financial inclusion through increased access to capital and financial services; data security and privacy; payments, the transfer of funds, and associated messaging services; and efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism).

· Water treatment and sanitation (including technologies and infrastructure to reduce contaminants and improve water quality).

· High-performance computing.

· Associated services necessary for use of any of the foregoing exports.


· World Bank in Turkey - www.worldbank.org/en/country/turkey

· European Development Bank of Reconstruction (EBRD) - https://www.ebrd.com/turkey.html

· U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) - https://ustda.gov/

· Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) - https://www.exim.gov/


For further information on this section or for more on potential opportunities, contact:

Yaprak Cakilcioglu

Commercial Specialist

Smart City Technologies Leader

U.S. Commercial Service Turkey