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Turks file more than 2.6 mln complaints with Turkish presidency in 3 years

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A senior government official has stated that Turkish citizens have filed 2,671,976 complaints with the Presidential Communications Center (CİMER) in three years, the BirGün daily reported on Monday.

The figure was announced by Vice President Fuat Oktay in response to a parliamentary question posed by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Oktay noted that of 2,671,976 complaints received by CİMER between 2019 and 2021, İstanbul topped the list with 1,327,541 complaints, followed by Ankara with 555,234, İzmir with 389,585, Antalya with 223,088 and Adana with 176,258 complaints.

Tanrıkulu indicated that Oktay provided information only on five provinces although they had sought information for all 81, adding that the vice president also failed to explain the results of the complaints.

“The huge number of complaints from İstanbul and other provinces is worrying. What are citizens complaining about to CİMER? What is the outcome of those complaints? These topics deserve special attention,” Tanrıkulu said.

Tanrıkulu argued that the excessive number of complaints to CİMER indicates that public services are not properly administered and that there are problems in local administrations since citizens don’t have access to local authorities to solve their problems.

According to recent surveys, citizens’ trust in government institutions has declined significantly in recent years 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 previous years.

According to critics, the lack of trust in state institutions prompts people to claim their rights by submitting complaints to CİMER instead of the courts.

Although Oktay stated that the complaints to CİMER numbered some 2.6 million in three years, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said last year that the number of applications in which people stated their requests and complaints to CİMER through a hotline or online application via Turkey’s e-government website exceeded 6 million in 2021.

While the contradiction between the two figures deserves an explanation, Altun had boasted about the increasing number of applications sent to CİMER, saying, “CİMER is one of the best examples of the state solving people’s problems.”

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.

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