Tuesday, December 2, 2014

e-municipality Initiatives in Turkey

e-municipality essentially is the utilization of information and communication technologies to provide efficient, citizen oriented, transparent, accountable and affordable local services. e-municipality also strength communication between the local administration and local communities, increase participation and local democracy, and improve municipalities’ decision making process with feedback. Moreover, e-municipality brings fast, qualified, and easy accessible services for citizens. 

Municipalities in Turkey’s local governance system have a lot of responsibilities and function to meet the needs in local level. In recent years, intensive urbanization process have put municipalities under
meeting new services and demands. Traditional ways of rendering local services has not been enable municipalities to do their whole duties anymore. On the other hand, fast developments in information and communication technologies provide new opportunities for local governments to manage their cities and perform their functions their local services in more effective, cheaper, transparent and accountable way than traditional ways.

A great majority of municipalities in Turkey have gone online over the last decade. They owned official websites. Initially most of these municipality website aimed to provide information about the works, organizational structure and mayor but not e-government services. However, there is a rising trend in transformation from website municipality to e-municipality. On the other hand, e-municipality initiatives develops in an uncoordinated and irrelevant way from each other. They have big differences in website contents, e-services, and e-government perspectives.

Actually Turkey has conducted an e-transformation project since 2003 in order to coordinate e-government policies and services in a central coordination which is mentioned in blogpost “A Brief History and Milestones of E-Government in Turkey” (Hayalgolu, 2014)[1]. However, municipalities’ e-government efforts still are far away from this central e-transformation initiative. So far, 95 municipalities and 2 local administration in 37 cities of Turkey give e-services through e-government gateway which is central and official e-government portal of Turkey. Moreover, Turkey hasn’t prepared regulations, guidelines or a national strategy for about how municipalities utilize ICTs for e-government services.  
Türkiye Haritası
Turkey's e-municipality maps (red dots shows cities with e-municipality services)
Source: e-government gateway of Turkey.

Today smart city concept is discussed throughout the world’s developed cities. Utilization of digital technology is key to transition to smart city concept especially in transportation, energy, health care, water and waste. Current e-municipality services will form a basis for future smart cities. Turkey should develop a comprehensive strategy for e-municipality initiatives and catch the new intelligent city wave. 

 [1] http://gov20class.blogspot.com/


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