Formerly part of the Turkish Post Office, which was founded in the mid-19th century, Türk Telekom was established in 1994. It is Turkey’s largest integrated telecommunications operator, providing mobile, wired broadband and TV services to over 50 million subscribers in 2020.
Türk Telekom demonstrates its support for users with disabilities through projects such as its Accessible Life mobile app and Günışığı (Sunlight), which offer distance education to children with visual impairments. In addition, its İnternetle Hayat Kolay (Life is Simple with the Internet) initiative works to increase women’s digital knowledge and encourage their participation in digital industries.
The company has several initiatives that support digital skills development and school connectivity. Next Generation Future, implemented in partnership with Habitat and Microsoft, involves face-to-face trainings for high school students on the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
Türk Telekom meets industry norms for cybersecurity practices by disclosing high-level responsibility for information security. It also reports on how it monitors and responds to security incidents, alongside having a standalone cybersecurity document.
The company demonstrates support for the tech innovation ecosystem through a venture capital fund and support for start-ups. It also shares big data for research on social issues, demonstrates support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has a committee responsible for ethics.
Türk Telekom has an opportunity to implement initiatives to enhance access to digital technology. The company also has an opportunity to disclose more information about its initiatives on digital inclusion for women, such as its contribution to these initiatives. The company should also disclose its number of employees with disabilities and the steps taken to provide them an inclusive workplace. Further, it should report on how the economic value it creates is distributed among its stakeholders.
The company has the opportunity to disclose more information about its digital skills programmes, including its contribution to these programmes and the number of participants. It can also consider carrying out a third-party assessment of its programmes for digital skills development and school connectivity.
Türk Telekom should disclose data breaches, in line with international norms. The company also has an opportunity to make a high-level commitment to child online protection and to expand its initiatives in this area.
Türk Telekom has an opportunity to enhance support for open source projects and standards. The company can develop support for social or non-profit start-ups and start-ups founded by people from underrepresented groups. In addition, the company can demonstrate support for inclusive and ethical innovation by reporting on the ratio of women in its technical staff, the location of its research and development (R&D) facilities, and how it considers ethics in its R&D and artificial intelligence (AI) activities.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Türk Telekom commits to respecting human rights and the ILO core labour rights. It also has a publicly available policy statement that expects its business relationships to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. However, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess and take action on salient human rights risks its own operations and in its business relationships. Furthermore, while Türk Telekom has a grievance mechanism for workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints, it is unclear if complainants have the option to identify themselves or remain anonymous.
Türk Telekom publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, and places health and safety expectations on its business relationships. However, while the company discloses information on the collective bargaining agreements covering its workforce, it lacks disclosure in relation to working hours and collective bargaining. For example, the company does not state that overtime is paid at a premium or disclose a target for paying workers a living wage. In relation to workforce diversity, while Türk Telekom provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender, it does not disclose against any other indicators of diversity per employee category.
Türk Telekom does not disclose any relevant information in relation to tax, such as a global tax strategy or income tax payments for all of the company’s tax jurisdictions. In relation to lobbying and political engagement, the company states that it does not make political contributions, but does not disclose its overarching approach in a public policy statement. Türk Telekom does, however, have a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and incudes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships; furthermore, the company has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic.