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Local Administration & Public Services

Local administration is the system of administration established to meet the common needs of the people living in a specific region and managed by bodies elected by these people. Local administrative agencies are authorized by the central government agencies to introduce rules and meet financial obligations on matters related to the region.Municipalities, provincial local governments and villages are the three types of local administration operating in Turkey.


Most of the municipal services available today were carried out by individuals and foundations during the Ottoman period. However, the gradual increase of daily needs in the cities created the need to set up a more orderly organization.The first municipal organization was established in Istanbul in 1854. Municipalities in other cities followed with the municipal laws of 1868 and 1876.

During the Republican period, a special system was adopted for Ankara in 1924. Later on, the law of April 3, 1930, based on the French system, prescribed in detail the organization and functions of the municipalities.

All municipalities are public corporate entities. Municipal organizatios must be set up in all provincial and district centers. Municipalities are required to meet the common regional and civic needs of the region and the regional populace.

Municipalities and villages near big cities, the populations of which were over 300,000 during the last census, may be attached to the metropolitan municipality so that basic municipal services may be carried out in an adequate and efficient matter and under complimentary plans.

Besides carrying out duties related to health and social assistance, public works, education, agriculture, the economy and the well-being of the citizens, municipalities are required to take the necessary measures to meet all civic needs through municipal services.

In order to secure the well-being and health of the regional populace and maintain order in the region municipalities are authorized:

To impose and enforce rules and municipal prohibitions where prescribed by law.To punish those violating the prohibitions.To collect municipal taxes, duties and fees.To set up drinking water, city gas, electricity and transport facilities and networks or transfer their operational rights.To run transport vehicles within the municipal borders.Municipal administration comprises an assembly, a council, and a mayor.The Municipal Assembly, elected by popular vote, varies in size with the population and approves the annual budget of the municipality, plans, projects related to public works and city planning and determines taxes, rates of duties, fees and tariffs of various sorts. The Municipal Council consists of the mayor, the heads of the municipal departments and members elected by the municipal assembly from among its own members. It prepared transport tariffs and fees, sets commodity prices, determines municipal fines, checks, budgets and decides on the hiring, firing and promotion of city employees.

The Mayor is the chief executive and representative of the municipality. He is elected for a term of five years.

Municipal Council members are elected by the proportional representation system. Mayors are elected by simple majority.

In big cities, where there is more than one district within municipal borders, the electoral zone for the election of the mayor of the metropolitan municipality is restricted by the municipal borders of he metropolis. Each district elects its own mayor and municipal assembly members.

Every Turkish citizen eligible to become a deputy in the National Assembly and who has lived in a specific electoral zone for at least six months may be elected mayor or municipal assembly member for the area.

Provincial Local Governments

The foundation of provincial local governments, with their present structure, dates back to the post-Second Constitutional Period. With the enactment of the law of March 26, 1913, they became corporate entities and their authority was extended.The functions of the provincial local government organizations operating under various laws can be grouped as follows:

Health and social assistancePublic worksCulture and educationAgriculture and animal husbandryEconomic and commercial functionsOthersThe governor, the representative of the central administration, is also the head of the provincial local government and its chief executive. The governor usually acts in line with the decisions made by the provincial general assembly.The provincial general assembly, the most authoritative body of the organization, consists of members elected for a term of four years. Meeting every year for forty days under the governor, it approves the provincial budget and makes decisions regarding the institutional services of the province.

The standing provincial council, composed of four members elected for a term of one year by the provincial general assembly from among its own members, reviews and approves fiscal matters, informs the provincial general assembly of the state of affairs of the organization and submits to the mayor, upon his request, its views related to local government operations.

Members of the provincial general assembly are elected by the proportional representation system, provided that their parties receive at least 10 percent of the votes.
Each district forms an electoral zone for elections to the provincial general assembly.


People with common property such as a mosque, school and pasture and who live in scattered or closely packed houses make up, together with their yards, gardens and land, a village. A village administration is formed in villages where at least 150 people live. This administration is a corporate entity.The basic body in the village administration is the Village Assembly. This assembly, composed of villages over the age of 21, elects the village headman (Muhtar) and members of the Council of Eldes. It decides on whether some optional duties should be made obligatory and determines the salary of the headman.

The Council of Elders consists of four to six permanent and four to six reserve members, in line with the village population. The imam (prayer leader) and the village schoolteacher are also on the Council. The Council of Elders makes recommendations concerning the conduct of village affairs and determines the things to be done. The village headman is elected to the village assembly for a term of five years. He represents the central administration and supervises the planning and operation of village projects and services. 

Public Services

Public services are provided in Turkey by many institutions operating in the administrative, economic, social scientific, technical and cultural fields. These institutions may be examined under the headings of administrative public institutions, state economic enterprises, social assistance institutions, scientific, technical and cultural public organizations and professional organizations with the status of public institutions. 

Administrative Public Institutions

There are institutions with annexed budgets which have corporate entities and which have been set up with the objective of ensuring the better administration of certain public services rendered by the central administration.Such institutions cannot elect their own boards-these are appointed by the central administration. Both these bodies and the employees working in such institutions are subject to the close supervision of the central administration. A general director, appointed by the State, heads the institution.
The Directorate General of Foundations, Directorate General of Physical Training, Highway Administration, Directorate General of State Hydraulic works, Directorate General of State Monopolies, Forest Administration, Directorate General of State Breeding Farms, Directorate General of State Airports and Department of Petroleum are some examples of administrative public institutions. 

State Economic Enterprises

When more than half of the capital of a public concern or corporation belongs to the State directly or indirectly, these corporations are called State Economic Enterprises (SEEs). This is a common term for both state and public economic enterprises.State Economic Enterprises properties are entirely state-owned. They are established in accordance with the law and operate in line with commercial rules. Public economic enterprises are also established in accordance with the law and they produce and market monopoly items as well as basic commodities and services. The public service nature of their operations is more apparent than that of State Economics Enterprises.

State Economic Enterprises have corporate entities and are subject to special legal proceedings. However, they are not subject to the General Accounting Law, the Law on State Biddings and Purchases or supervision by the Court of Accounts. Their responsibilities are limited by the amount of their capitals.

Such enterprises operating in the field of banking may take the form of joint stock companies, provided that 91 percent of their capital is owned by the State.
The executive boards of State Economic Enterprises consist of a chairman and five members.

State Economic Enterprises are autonomous in their activities. The relationship between a SEE and the affiliated ministry is not of hierarchical nature. The affiliated ministry acts as liaison between the SEE and the administration, as well as the legislature.

The economic activities of the SEEs are in conformity with commercial rules. Profitability and productivity are their principal objectives. 


Since the private sector was in inadequate in launching the development process during the early years of the Republic, the States made investments in various fields so as to be the driving force of the economy.However, due to the rapid development experienced during the 1980's, especially in science, technology, telecommunications and transportation, countries were brought closer together both politically and economically, and they way was paved for the establishment of a common market economy.

In this regard, Turkey has made great strides in the transition to a market economy, integration within this new global system, and restructuring its owns economy.

Within this framework, the state no longer intervenes directly in economic issues. It has intensified its work in infrastructure and social services. The most important work the state has undertaken, however, is privatization.

The Public Participation Administration is responsible for matters concerning privatization and the Public High Council is the decision-making branch of this organization. The laws under which privatization is carried out are: No. 2983 dated March 17, 1984, No. 3291 dated May 28, 1986, No. 3701 dated March 6, 1991 and three decrees in the force of law.
The Council of Ministers has the authority to privatize the State Economic Enterprises (SEEs). The High Planning Council is responsible for the activities, affiliated organizations, administration, control and financial arrangements of the SEEs until the said organizations are privatized and the state share of their capital falls below 50%.
The Public Participation High Council determines privatization policies and sale of the state shares of these organizations.

The aim of privatization

To establish a market mechanism based on competitionTo reduce the industrial and commercial activities of the stateTo reduce the burden caused by SEEs on the budgetTo develop markets and add inactive savings into the economyTo transfer the funds earned as a result of privatization into the infrastructure.

Institutions for Social Assistance

The institutions for social security established by the State play and important role in securing the right of social security for everyone in conformity with the principle of a "social state" as prescribed in Article 2 of the Constitution. Three major social security institutions and all public corporate entities provide citizens with social security. These institutions are the Retirement Trust, the Social Insurance Board and BAG-KUR (Social Insurance Board for businessmen, craftsmen and other Independent professionals).The Retirement Trust is an autonomous public institution affiliated to the Ministry of Finance and Customs. It was established with the objective of extending pensions funds to, and dealing with retirement procedures of, those employed by the State, municipalities, provincial local governments and State Economic Enterprises.

The Social Insurance Board is a public institution enjoying financial and administrative autonomy. It is affiliated to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. This institution was first set up on July 16, 1945 under the name of Workers' Insurance and acquired its present-day status and name in 1964.

BAG-KUR was set up on September 2, 1971, and is attached to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. It covers small businessmen, craftsmen and other independent professionals. It also has financial and administrative autonomy.

Apart from these, there are other institutions extending social security services. For example, the Society for the Protection of Children is a general directorate with an annexed budget which is affiliated to the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance. This institution has the duty of determining principles regarding social services to be extended to needy families, children, the elderly and the disabled as well as preparing the necessary executive plans and coordinating with other related organizations. 

Scientific Technical and Cultural Public Institutions

Certain state institutions have been developed as autonomous and neutral organizations in accordance with the Constitution. For example, while the universities have academic autonomy, the radio and television administration and public news agencies are neutral organizations.Universities are founded by the State in accordance with the law. They have public corporate status and academic autonomy. They consist of various units providing qualified manpower for the country, conducting scientific research, carrying out consultancy services, publishing scientific and technical journals and extending other services to the nation and humanity.

Apart from the universities, the Turkish and Middle East Public Administration Institute, as prescribed by its founding law, is an educational and research institution with corporate identity enjoying administrative, scientific and financial autonomy.

According to Turkish law radio and television broadcasting stations are established only by an impartial public corporate body. However, some private radio and television stations broadcast to Turkey from abroad via satellite and the legal arrangements allowing them to broadcast in Turkey have almost been completed. The law prescribes the observance of the principle of neutrality in all sorts of broadcasts and in the administration and supervision of the TRT. The principle of neutrality is also valid for news agencies which operate with the status of public economic enterprises or which receive financial assistance from the State or other public corporations.

Furthermore, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television, which was set up with the objective of determining principles for radio and television broadcasts that would conform to national policy, is a public corporate institution with administrative autonomy.

Besides the institutions of higher education and the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation), a new public institution dealing with cultural affairs is included in the 1982 Constitution. This is the Ataturk High Council for Culture, Language and History. It is a public corporation attached to the Prime Minister's Office.

The aim of this high institution is to conduct scientific research, to produce publications and to disseminate information on the thoughts, principles and reforms of Ataturk, Turkish culture, Turkish history and the Turkish language. The Ataturk Research Center, Turkish Language Society, Turkish Historical Society and the Ataturk Cultural Center are four separate corporate bodies attached to the High Council.

Professional Organizations with the Status of Public Institutions

These organizations, also called public professional organizations, are public corporate bodies which carry out public services and which have certain rights vis-a-vis their members in line with civil law.The objectives of public professional organizations established by law and comprised of members from a given profession are to meet the common needs of the members of that profession, to facilitate their professional activities, to ensure the development of the profession in keeping with common interests and to safeguard professional discipline and ethics in order to ensure integrity and trust in relations among its members and with the public.

The various organs of the professional organizations with the status of public institutions are elected by secret ballot by their members in accordance with the procedure set forth in the law and under judicial supervision.

The responsible bodies of public professional organizations may be dissolved by a court ruling, except under certain circumstances.
Public professional organizations are subject to the administrative and financial supervision of the State as prescribed by law.

Public Professional Organizations in Turkey

The Union of Turkish Bars (TBB) The Union of Turkish Public Notaries (TNB) The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) The Union of Turkish Chambers of Agriculture (TZOB) The Turkish Medical Society (TTB) The Turkish Pharmacists' Association (TEB) The Union of Turkish Dentists (TDHB) The Union of Turkish Veterinarians (TVHB) The Confederation of Trades and Artisans Associations of Turkey (TEKSK)

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