Digital Divide in Turkey: A General Assessment

Digital Divide in Turkey: A General Assessment

Mete Yildiz (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch005
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This chapter examines the nature of digital divide in Turkey. To this end, after a brief summary of the literature, first, the dimensions of digital divide in the country are explained. Then, various initiatives by the government, private firms, NGOs, and international organizations to combat digital divide are presented. Next, in the discussion section, issues for further discussion regarding digital divide in Turkey are listed. The chapter ends with the examination of the issues regarding the future prospects for overcoming digital divide in Turkey and developing countries elsewhere.
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Although some argue that there is no consensus on its definition, extent or impact (Dewan & Riggins, 2005: 299), the concept of digital divide can be basically defined as the difference between nation-states, regions, organizations (or businesses) and individuals in access to and value-adding use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for a wide variety of activities (OECD, 2001: 5; Kaufman, 2005: 293). The most important determinants of the occurrence of this gap between the users and non-users of ICTs are listed as education level, geographical location, age, gender and race (Bikson & Panos, 1999: 31-41; Neu, Anderson & Bikson, 1999: xxii). Different solutions have been proposed to overcome digital divide. Some of these can be listed as using taxes (subsidies), tariffs, trade & legislation, and funding for public access points (Dewan & Riggins, 2005: 299).

An excellent summary of the academic literature on different levels of the digital divide phenomenon was done by Dewan & Riggins (2005). This chapter deals mostly with the individual and nation-state levels of the digital divide phenomenon in Turkey and the solutions proposed so as to overcome this problem.

Key Terms in this Chapter

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.

Digital Divide: Inequality between nation-states, regions, organizations and individuals in access to and productive use of ICTs based on variables such as income, gender, age, location, etc.

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.

First Order Effects of Digital Divide: Effects caused by unequal access to ICTs due to digital divide.

Internet Cafes: Places that are set up by individual entrepreneurs or private firms in order to provide access to computers and the Internet in exchange for an hourly fee.

Second Order Effects of Digital Divide: Effects caused by unequal value-creation via ICT access and use due to digital divide.

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.

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