Responsive, responsible government, responding to the needs of citizens; that's the idea behind Turkey's first ever citizens' report card - the people who rely on the government's services assess the government's services.
Asking for Help
Over the phone, via Facebook and Twitter, more than ten thousand requests for help rolled into the city of Manisa's government call center last year. Most of them were resolved.
Yusef Sevincli stopped by the call center. A day ago, he says, a government official told him his house had been built illegally and wasn't really his. He has the documents to prove he owns the house, and he produces them with a flourish. Case closed.
"Frankly speaking, I'm very happy with this," he says. "The quick response, the problem solved. The only thing that's bad is the amount of the water bill I pay!"
A New Approach
Bills aside, the government of the city of Manisa is aiming to be open, transparent, and user-friendly. It's a new idea for local government here.
Nursel Ustamehmetoglu is Manisa's deputy mayor, part of the team that brought the call center into being. "We want to see whether we do a good job at what we do. Local governments are accountable to citizens. We're open to criticism, if we're not successful, we want to do better."
As part of that, the city worked hard on outreach at the neighborhood level, using social media and more old-fashioned methods, like printing and distributing one thousand copies of the report.