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UNDP Turkey: This is the New Horizons Podcast prepared by United Nations Development Programme in Turkey. In this episode, we will talk about the “Project for the Institutionalization and Broader Use of the E-Consulate System for Increased Efficiency in the Service Delivery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” that is implemented to improve access to information which is vital for development. This project, which is implemented with the partnership of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP, aims at efficiency and cost-effectiveness with a focus on enhanced citizen-satisfaction from the services of the Ministry all over the world. We interviewed with Ambassador Haldun Koç, Head of Information Technologies of Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a conference which was organized within the framework of the project. The conference was organized to consolidate the ownership and ensure sustainability of the outputs of the project at national level and to serve as a platform for discussion of the best national and international practices about e-government. The project started in 2010 and Ambassador Haldun Koç explained the starting point of the project:

Haldun Koç: This project is developed to improve service delivery provided to our citizens by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has its background as well. We are talking about nearly 20-year project. This project is continuously extended and renewed every five years and we come to today. The target group with this project is 6 million Turkish citizens who live abroad. These citizens also have similar needs like citizens who live in Turkey. What are they? Such as the ones offered by Population and Citizenship Affairs General Directorate; taking the identity card, making the registration for marriage, postponement of military service, provision of notary documents and all consular processes which comes to your mind. All these is provided by a single platform. The aim is to provide citizens many services as fast as and as efficient as we can regardless of where they live. As the time progressed with the help of advancements in technology, we are at the point of adding storeys to this building of services and it is endless. We can add many storeys as we can. Thanks to this project, our citizens can enjoy the services in seconds while they were waiting for days, months and hours before this project.

UNDP Turkey: The “Project for the Institutionalization and Broader Use of the E-Consulate System for Increased Efficiency in the Service Delivery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” has become a success story in terms of e-governance and access to information. This system which is built in Ministry of Foreign Affairs is recognized as “good practice” by international institutions such as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as by United Nations institutions like United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESWA). The most important reason for the success of this project is that a strong e-collaboration was built between the public institutions. We listen to Haldun Koç:

Haldun Koç: This project is a very comprehensive project. It is a good example in terms of e-state. These services are not the kind of services that can be provided by only one institution. As you can guess, when a data is needed about the identity card, one has to go to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs. It is the same case when there is a need to registration for marriage. One needs to go to the Ministry of National Defense for deferment of military service. Also there is a need for Ministry of Justice documents and Union of Notaries. We might need data from the Turkish National Police. Thus in the course of project’s time, we have had an incredible progress in terms of electronic integration. Thanks to this project, we achieved a serious amount of data share between the public institutions. The aim is to provide services to the citizens abroad with a broader context and timely manner. We have seen the benefits of this developed information infrastructure during the national elections. We were able to quickly share the related information with our citizens as we could easily reach out to their addresses and e-mails. We could send e-mails to all citizens at once. Thanks to this infrastructure, the citizens showed a seriously high rate of participation to the elections and this increased the overall level of participation in foreign countries for our national elections. Hence, project is heading towards a more comprehensive perspective as I told you it is like a building and you can add as many storeys as you want. Because technology changes, demands increase. Social media develops very rapidly. We try to adapt ourselves to this age. Therefore, this project we are implementing with UNDP is proven to be a very good example over the years in terms of its contribution to the potential of working together and better cooperation. The project will continue over the next period.

UNDP Turkey: The first phase of the project is completed this year and the second phase is going to be executed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the technical assistance of UNDP between 2016 and 2021. In the second phase of the project, the use of the system will be improved in order to increase the level of satisfaction with the services provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs all over the world while increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In order to ensure the fully fledged implementation of e-consulate system, the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be increased and it will be aimed to improve the access to e-consulate system by easing its use. Haldun Koç explains the role of UNDP in the project and how the project as an integral part of development supports Turkey:

Haldun Koç: UNDP has a unique position in these kind of projects, in terms of its management and knowledge as UNDP has experiences for the same topic in different parts of the world. Hence as we wanted to work with UNDP, we aimed to evaluate the project comprehensively and achieve the project goals as quickly as possible with the right methods and the right path in a short period of time. UNDP especially shared its experience about development with us. Because we work for our citizens living abroad and we want to ensure that they receive services with the best way. It actually shows the level of development for a country. If you do not provide decent services to citizens living abroad, it cannot be able to talk about your development and progress. Therefore, the more you increase the quality of service delivered to the citizens living in Turkey and abroad, the more you come to a higher point of development. So a successful project has come, because we worked with UNDP as we think it is an important partner that we can successfully partner with and we progressed on a road map developed for increasing the level of development, for the services provided to citizens and for increasing the quality of these services.

UNDP Turkey: We have come to end of the episode of New Horizons with the words of Haldun Koç. In this episode, we talked about the “Project for the Institutionalization and Broader Use of the E-Consulate System for Increased Efficiency in the Service Delivery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” that is implemented to improve access to information which is vital for development. This program has been recorded at the studio of Yodiviki in İstanbul. You can follow our program on FM frequency in İstanbul, on Açık Radyo (Open Radio) on Internet, on university radios in our broadcasting network, on iTunes, Soundcloud, TuneIn, Pure Connect, Yodiviki, Audioboo and TTNET Müzik in podcast format, and also on tr.undp.org. Our user name for social media is undpturkiye. Hope to see you soon, good-bye!
































E-services for easy and accurate access to information

Haldun Koç, Ambassador, Head of Information Technologies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs