E-Government Developments in Turkey for Supporting Public Sector Transformation

E-Government Developments in Turkey for Supporting Public Sector Transformation

Asim Balci (Selçuk University, Turkey) and Tunc D. Medeni (Turksat, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-839-2.ch013
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This work presents the specific case of Turkey for public sector transformation by e-Government services development. The Turkish case will be presented with an aim to provide interesting and useful information for practitioners as well as academicians in the field of e-government and public transformation, and a focus on central government examples and policy orientations affecting daily lives of citizens. The rationale and perspective of the paper reflects practitioners’ viewpoint, and assumes that the experiences of Turkey case will have echoes on other places, as the experienced and discussed issues have common characteristics with other cases. This practitioner analysis chapter is then based on the co-authors’ personal involvement in and reflections on the various aspects of the Turkish case, while the chapter is written mostly as a result on secondary research. These reflective analyses are embedded within background information about e-government development in Turkey, presented together with academic perspective of transformational government. E-Government Gateway, MERNIS, UYAP, e-tax projects in Turkey are specifically highlighted. A discussion of policy orientations that affect daily lives of citizens follows, and suggestions for future work and directions are also provided. The discussion especially underlines the shared service and citizen-oriented approach to e-government service development with implications for process integration and improvement, if not yet for thorough transformation. It is hoped that the reflections and directions with respect to Turkish case presented in this work provides useful guidelines for new e-government initiatives in Turkey and all around the world.
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Transformational Government

Evolving from basic information provisioning towards more integrated, joined up and citizen-centric service offerings, e-Government services are now working towards realising T-Government – as the highest level of maturity for e-Government development. T-government redefines the delivery of government services by providing a single point of contact to citizens’, making the government transparent to citizens, businesses (and state). From a demand perspective, extensive efforts are also needed to increase citizens’ awareness about the transformation of the delivery of government services. This awareness could result in increased e-participation, as well.1 Development of new services and improvement of existing services may then be an area where citizen demand and government provision meet.

Research, yet, has shown that the e-government initiatives are mostly away from reaching the state of t-Government. For instance, West (2004) acknowledges that while e-government transformation and revolution has the possibility to enhance democratic responsiveness and boosts beliefs of effective government, it falls short of its potential to transform service delivery and public trust in government. Torres, Pina and Royo (2005) also discuss that e-government initiatives (at regional and local levels in EU) still reflect present service delivery patterns, not transform them.

The recent OECD report (2009) encourages rethinking e-Government services, considering user-centered approaches. Within these approaches improving, monitoring and evaluating user take-up are especially highlighted, representing the paradigm shift from government centricity to citizen centricity. Meanwhile UN (2008) underlines increased integration in service delivery based on commonality of infrastructures, data, and business processes, and service innovation achieved by multi-channel service delivery and smaller and smarter use of back-end processes and systems to support bigger and better front-end operations encourage more collaborative models of service delivery. These models of “connected or networked government” request government agencies again rethink their operations, to move towards a chain-oriented paradigm with respect to structure, culture, knowledge and management, and to look towards technology as a strategic tool and an enabler for public service innovation and productivity growth. (UN, 2008)

In response to the various highlighted need of rethinking the services of e-Government and realising the state of t-Government, for instance, Sahraoui et al.. (2008) suggest a research agenda of t-Government for benefit realization. Accordingly, “the main threads of t-Government encompass:

  • A citizen-centric delivery of public services or e-inclusion

  • A shared service culture to maximise value added to clients

  • The effective delivery and management of resources and skills within government – or professionalism.

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