This chapter presents an analysis of local e-government adoption and implementation in Turkey. To this end, academic articles, various laws, and parts of the newly-adopted Turkish Information Society Strategic Plan that pertains to local e-government, reports of local e-government implementation are reviewed. The chapter also examines the integration of local e-government applications in a portal and the efforts to link this portal to a Web-based performance management system for local governments. Overall, it can be said that there is a lack of consistency with regard to local e-government mandates and implementation. The chapter concludes with the evaluation of the current state of and future research areas about local e-government in Turkey.
Local electronic government can be defined as the provision of local government information and services via information and communication technologies (ICTs) (Ho, 2002: 434; UN and ASPA, 2002: 1). Recent studies have shown that size, professional government (i.e. council-manager form of governments), organizational/budget resources, socio-economic profile, favorable location (being in the developed regions of a country) of local government units, senior management support/e-government champions, and having separate IT departments are positively related to local e-government sophistication (Reddick, 2004: 81-82; Streib & Willoughby, 2005: 83-90; West, 2005:2; Wohlers, 2007: 18). The main priority areas for local e-government are defined in The Digital Local Agenda Manifesto (EISCO, 2007: 2) as to use ICTs for increasing participation in local government affairs, to enhance digital literacy and overcome digital divide, to enable full access of citizens to affordable, open communication networks, to develop secure digital infrastructures and to provide ICT-based services in local governments.
This chapter presents the historical development, current status and future potential of local e-government in Turkey. The subject of local e-government is still an understudied subset of the general e-government studies in Turkey. A recent study by Sadioglu and Yildiz (2007) examined 4327 articles which were published by 14 major Turkish social science journals in a period of 15 years (19921-2006) in search of articles about e-government. The search yielded 80 articles about the e-government topic. Out of these 80 articles, only 13 (16%) were written about the local level e-government.
The objectives of this chapter are to review the local literature, national and international scientific reports and legal developments extensively and to take stock of the developments in the local e-government area in Turkey. In doing so, the analysis in this chapter uses the e-government development stages framework developed in a United Nations and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) joint report, published in 2002, as shown in Table 1. This typology is similar to the Layne and Lee’s (2001) categorization of e-government development in four steps as cataloguing, transaction, integration within functional areas and horizontal integration stages. The typology in Table 1 is preferred to that of Layne and Lee since the Schelin typology below presents a richer model. It may be argued that:Table 1.
|Stage One: Emerging Web Presence||Administrative||Few, if any||Only Web||Going it alone|
|Stage Two: Enhanced Web Presence||Administrative, Information||Few forms, no transactions||Web, e-mail||Links to local agencies|
|Stage Three: Interactive Web Presence||Information, Users, Administrative||Number of forms, online submissions||Web, e-mail, portal||Some links to state and federal sites|
|Stage Four: Transactional Web Presence||Information, Users||Many forms and transactions||Web, e-mail, digital signatures, PKI, portals, SSL||Some links to state and federal sites|
|Stage Five: Seamless Web Presence||Users||Mirror all services provided in person, by mail and by telephone||Web, e-mail, PKI, digital signatures, portal, SSL; other available technologies||Crosses departments and layers of government|
Source: Schelin, 2003, p. 129, adapted from UN and ASPA, 2002 & Ho, 2002.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Digital Divide: Inequality of access to technologies between different segments of the society, based on gender, age, location, etc.
Information society action plan: A list of specific actions (and the organizations responsible from these actions) that needs to be done by a government unit (or a country), in order to achieve specific goals set in the Information Society Strategy.
Public Internet Access Points: Places that are set up by government units in order to promote access to technology, such as computer labs in schools, libraries and community centers.
Information society strategy: A strategic plan that explains in detail what a government unit (or a country) should do in order to achieve some pre-determined information-society-related performance criteria.
Mobile Government: Provision of government information and services via mobile technologies.
Local E-Government: Provision of local government information and services via information and communication technologies (ICTs).