Main eGovernment infrastructure components
Last updated: November 2011
e-Devlet Kapisi, Turkey’s eGovernment gateway, was launched on 18 December 2008. The portal aims to provide citizens and enterprises with a single point of access to eGovernment services. The gateway will also serve a third group of users – the public sector agencies themselves – allowing them to interact with each other and exchange information.
As of June 2011, the eGovernment Gateway includes more than 260 services of 28 different agencies, as well as information about administrative procedures and links to the services provided directly through websites of each public agency. Secure transaction is currently provided through electronic signature, mobile electronic signature or password given to users upon request. Future enhancements will facilitate users to access the portal with smart cards. Moreover, the system is extended to serve additional communication devices such as cell phones and Pocket PCs. The project’s responsibility lies within the governmental company Turksat, Turkey’s main provider of Satellite and IT infrastructure services.
The country’s infrastructure undergoes rapid modernisation and expansion, especially with cellular telephones. Additional digital exchanges allow rapid increase in subscribers, while the construction of a network of technically advanced intercity trunk lines, using both fibre-optic cable and digital microwave radio relays facilitates communication between urban centres. Remote areas are reached by a domestic satellite system. International service is provided by three submarine fibre-optic cables in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, linking Turkey with Italy, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia; also by Intelsat earth stations and mobile satellite terminals in the Inmarsat and Eutelsat systems.
Rather than investing on institutional wide area network infrastructures, a common secure communication infrastructure will be installed to meet the needs of public institutions and will thus constitute the backbone of country’s eGovernment architecture. Turksat is tasked with the implementation, which is based on a Virtual Private Network, using encrypted network bridges for facilitating secure data transfers in both directions between the individual government offices. While fibre optic lines constitute the most commonly used communication infrastructure, satellite services are also provided, as a redundancy tool aiming to ensure an effective and uninterruptible network service.
Turksat provides high-speed broadband internet access service as well as interactive services such as tele-shopping, tele-education and pay-TV, through its cable infrastructure and systems. Users can have access to these services via a single TV cable extended to subscribers from Türksat’s fibre optical cable infrastructure, without any need for telephone cables and telephone subscription.
Maximum level of security has been achieved in the domestic eGovernment Gateway with the installation of software and hardware that enables Turkish citizens to utilise electronic public services securely.
The ‘MERNIS’ Central Population Management System, operational since January 2003 assigns a unique ID-number for about 120 million Turkish citizens, both alive and deceased, which can be used in many eServices. It allows computerised birth certificates and transactions on them. KPS (ID Information Sharing System) is another function of MERNIS, which enables public agencies having appropriate security authorisations to access ID information.
An identification verification system consisting of user ID and password is used in the eGovernment services provided by government agencies, and each agency produces its own IDs and passwords. Some government agencies meet their identification verification needs using eSignature and mobile signature. Türksat is developing and offering to agencies applications whereby identification verification systems like password, eSignature and mobile signature will work in an integrated manner.
According to a Prime Ministry Circular, issued on 4 July 2007 on an electronic citizenship card pilot project, electronic citizenship card will be exclusively used for ID verification purposes. The Circular specifies both the characteristics of the card as well as the project’s implementation process.
The citizenship card, which is actually a smart card, will exclusively contain static information necessary to perform ID verification, but no dynamic data namely health information, address, among other such data. The card will enable ID verification with different credentials such as visual security elements, pin code and biometric data (fingerprint). The biometric data will be held exclusively on the card and will not be stored in a central database. The card is going to replace the currently used national identity cards. In addition, the characteristics of the card enable its usage in any service requiring secure ID verification, such as online eGovernment services, financial transactions, among other services.
In accordance with the Circular, a three-stage pilot project has already been implemented in the area of social security and health. Pilot implementation was completed by 2010 and distribution of ID cards is to be started in 2012.
The Address Record System was completed by the Turkish Statistical Institute by the end of 2007 and was transferred to the General Directorate of Census and Citizenship. Address records are linked with the MERNIS Central Population Management System. The system, designed to link address data with unique ID number for legal and real entities, constitutes one of eGovernment's backbones.
The Public Procurement Authority aims at utilising electronic means to conduct and to improve the process of purchasing goods and services in the public sector through the use of the Electronic Public Procurement Platform (Elektronik Kamu Alımları Platformu), available since the end of 2010. In the Information Society Strategy of Turkey, the establishment of this platform is considered as one of the essential projects for modern public service transformation, while its usage is mandatory for all public authorities. The platform is still under development and all phases of the eProcurement process will only be available in the upcoming years.
The State Supply Office (DMO) has been serving with its 22 regional offices as a centralised public purchase institution in Turkey. DMO has more than 1 100 supply types in 203 different categories. With the Electronic Sale Project (eSale), an important step has been taken, by transforming all the catalogue purchase services to a web environment. DMO, which has the largest sale portfolio in the country, aims to become a model user in the Government sector. DMO has established electronic procurement infrastructure for its own purchases. Test implementations and studies on security infrastructure are ongoing.
Digital Content is primarily kept in libraries. The National Library is currently transferring its collection into a digital environment, so that the content can be put into public service upon the completion of the digitisation. The Turkish Board of Higher Education (YOK) has been collecting theses completed in Turkish universities and hospitals since 1987. A web-based database is open to researchers for bibliographic information. To extend the scope of the service and provide easy access to the full text of a thesis, a project called 'National Digital Thesis Database' was carried out by YOK and digitisation of almost 140 000 theses has been completed and are available through the Internet.
Implemented by Türksat, this project is intended to provide call centre services and functionality for the Government and its branches. All services offered by the eGovernment gateway will also be offered through this call centre. In addition, citizens will be able to do follow-ups, check the stages of the services and access other relevant information about the gateway. Türksat will also provide assistance to government agencies to create their own call centres and connect them to the main government call centre. The necessary education, software and hardware support will also be provided through the duration of the project.
The Ministry of Finance has implemented a nationwide communications network to streamline administrative workflows and allow citizens to submit their tax returns online. The system connects tax offices, regional finance offices and tax inspector offices of the Revenue Administration. Citizens can submit tax returns via the Internet and call up their tax file online whenever they want. All tax data is centrally stored in a data warehouse system, and access to the system is secured by the use of digital signatures and encrypted data transfer via a Public Key Infrastructure. Project furthermore stipulates establishing the necessary IT infrastructure for the creation of a call centre.
Other infrastructure related to the Ministry of Finance includes the eDeclaration application, which provides acceptance of declarations, announcements and appendices via the Internet. Integration and data exchange with external systems such as banks is also provided.
Another application is the Internet Tax Office of the Revenue Administration, which enables taxpayers to follow their tax transactions such as accrual tax and payments-in. These applications are all parts of the Tax Offices Automation Project (VEDOP).
UYAP is an eJustice system which has been developed to ensure a fast, reliable, and accurate judicial system. Developed by the IT Department of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) as a central information system, it covers all of the judicial institutions and other governmental departments. All judicial units have been fully equipped with computers, case management software and other updated hardware. Each judicial unit is connected to other units by a secure network and is given access to legal sources such as legislation, case law, bulletins and circulars. With the online connection and correspondence in courts all information is digitally delivered or inserted among them. All cases in Turkey’s courts can be accessible online by judges, prosecutors and lawyers provided that online approval has been granted by the judges who deal with the case.
Citizens can reach and check on their case information via the Internet, and be informed of the day fixed for the trial without appearing in court. They can be informed via a website about their cases or hearing dates. They can submit their claims to court by using their electronic signature and examine their files through the Internet. Lawyers can file a suit, submit any document to courts and pay case fee from their office by using their electronic signature through the Internet. They can litigate a claim or dispute to court through electronic means; review their cases via electronic means; submit their petition online via UYAP. Online cases are tried in Turkey, as some lawyers have begun to submit their claims online by using their eSignature.