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Özet


State-Citizen Interaction in Turkey with respect to Societal Dimension of Communication

1. Introduction

Communication is an indispensable element of individual existence. With communication, our humane and social relations network is being shaped. Without communication, it is not possible for the individual to gain an identity and collectivity of his own within the society. On the other hand, open communication channels for state-citizen interaction is very significant for the wealth, happiness, peace and security of the citizens.

Information is transmitted between individuals, societies and generations through communication. Information has been an important source of richness for the societies throughout centuries; and those societies which owned the information and used it in an efficient way were able to dominate others. Since the middle of 20th century; developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) have made a breakthrough in terms of gathering, processing and storing the information and accelerated the transformation process into the information society (Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development, 2015, 10). Developments in ICT have the potential to change the state-citizen interaction. While correspondence, face-to-face contact, telephone and fax were the communication tools used in the past; today, the state-citizen interaction has started to shift into the virtual area via e-state applications (Bensghir, 2000, 49-50). The pursuit of policies and strategies related with ICT in Turkey have started in the second half of 1990s and the most important step on this subject was launched with e-State Gate Project in 2008 (Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development, 2015, 10-11; www.bilgitoplumu.gov.tr, 2016).

In short, communication is a significant process both in terms of interaction of individuals with each other in society and interaction of society with its citizens. In terms of the significance of communication in society and state; projects for the development and dissemination of ICT are executed in the world and in Turkey. Despite all the efforts, we cannot say that ICT in Turkey has reached to the desired level in terms of improving state-citizen interaction. Within this scope, the goal of this study is to reveal the social and public dimensions of communication based on ICT in Turkey and to determine the possible problems it might cause in terms of state-citizen interaction.

In order to reach this goal; data of Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) Household Information Technologies Utilization Study (2015) and Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development, Information Society Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2018) were used.

2. Method

Our study is designed as a case study within qualitative research designs. In this design, one or more cases are analyzed with an integrative method within their own environment and time borders. The population of study consists of official data Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) Household Information Technologies Utilization Study (2015) and Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development, Information Society Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2018). As the mentioned data covers the years between 2004-2015 and more recent data cannot be reached; study is restricted with this eleven years period.

The data gathering method used for this study was document review. Document review covers the analysis of written material that contains information about the fact(s) aimed to be investigated. Within this scope, electronic data of TUIK and Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development as mentioned above were used as the documents. Research data were collected through Internet and analyzed by descriptive analysis method. In this method, data are summarized and interpreted in accordance with the previously determined themes. Social dimension, public dimension and problems constitute the themes of this study. Within the framework of determined themes; study facts were transformed into graphics via Excel 2010 and interpreted accordingly.

3. Results and Discussion

The study has initially tried to find an answer about the social status of ICT-based communication in Turkey. The conclusions have revealed that computer and Internet utilization has increased in every age group between the years 2005 and 2015, that men have a higher rate of computer and Internet utilization when compared with women, and that computer and Internet utilization has increased in correlation with increase in education status. It has been seen that women between the ages 16-24 have had a higher rate of computer and Internet utilization than men within this eleven years long process. This is interpreted as the change of male-dominant structure in computer and Internet utilization.

Second, the study has tried to find an answer about the public status of ICT-based communication in Turkey. The results have indicated that e-state service and user amounts have increased along with investment on ICT area. Despite all these developments, the satisfaction level from e-state/e-municipality services is below the European average and they need to be improved. These services are not sufficient enough to satisfy the needs of young people between the ages 16-24. Age groups of 45 and above cannot utilize these services adequately.

Third, the study has tried to find an answer about the possible problems that might be caused by ICT-based communication in Turkey on state-citizen interaction. The results have indicated that utilization of information and communication technologies for state-citizen interaction might cause administrative, technical and information security problems.

The strength of this study lies in revealing the goal of the study in a clear way and evaluating the social dimension of communication within the context of state-citizen interaction; as no similar studies were conducted before. The weak points of this study can be evaluated as building it on secondary data and even though such data was supported by similar study results, no qualitative study was conducted. Despite the weaknesses, findings of this study are remarkable as they pave the way for possible future studies on this subject.

4. Conclusion

It has been understood that, the utilization of computer and Internet by men and women from all age groups increased as a result of investment on ICT in Turkey. The numbers of services carried into the electronic environment has increased within the framework of E-state gate; and the state-citizen interaction has become intensified. But this intensive communication has brought some problems on security together. In conclusion, below suggestions are made in order to execute the state-citizen interaction via ICT in a better form: a) Investments to develop ICT have to continue.  b) E-state and E-municipality services have to be improved in a way to meet the requirements and expectations of those individuals who use Internet most frequently, namely, those within the 16-34 age group. c) Citizens should be encouraged to use e-state- e-municipality services.  d) As social media tools have the first place in Internet utilization, those tools should be utilized for the dissemination of e-state/  e-municipality services.  e) Public must be informed about the services on E-State and the service content should be improved and simplified. 



Anahtar Kelimeler
State-Citizen Interaction in Turkey with respect to Societal Dimension of Communication

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