The number of applications in which people state their requests and complaints to the Presidential Communications Center (CİMER) through a hotline or online application via Turkey’s e-government website exceeded 6 million in 2021, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Thursday.
According to a survey conducted this year, citizens’ trust in government institutions declined significantly in 2021 in Turkey, a country where the economy is in trouble and press freedom has been curtailed, in addition to a deterioration in health services and education, following the downward trend of 2020. According to critics, the lack of trust in institutions prompts people to claim their rights by submitting complaints to CİMER instead of the courts.
Altun boasted about the increasing number of applications sent to CİMER — exceeding 6 million in 2021 — during a speech delivered at a meeting organized by the Communications Directorate on CİMER.
“CİMER is one of the best examples of the state solving people’s problems,” Altun said.
Critics, however, argue that the widespread use of the CİMER hotline and online system is often an indication of other public agencies’ failure to solve citizens’ issues, leaving them no choice but to submit a petition to the presidency.
There were 630,000 applications to CİMER in 2016, increasing to 2 million the next year and exceeding 3 million in 2019. In 2020, the figure was 5,900,000.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces accusations of establishing one-man rule in the country by jailing his critics and silencing opposition media.
In 2018 Turkey switched from a parliamentary to an executive presidential system of governance that granted Erdoğan sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances and thus further weakening democracy.