Citizen Participation in the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan of Kadikoy, Turkey

First Submitted By Kadikoy Akademi

Most Recent Changes By Jaskiran Gakhal

General Issues
Planning & Development
Scope of Influence
Targeted Demographics
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Public Hearings/Meetings

The Kadıköy Municipality in Turkey had a 2015-2019 participatory management Strategic Plan. For five months, ideas collected by surveys, online forums, discussions by citizens and experts and focus meetings were shared with residents of Kadıköy and included in the plan.

Problems and Purpose

The strategic plan is described as a means for the participation of citizens in decision-making processes. However, in general, the strategic planning and implementation processes are not being carried out on the basis of participation. Most generally, municipalities either do not collect opinions from relevant parties or they merely pretend to do so by leaving it all on paper. The plan is generally prepared by the related offices of municipalities, formulated as an instrument for service procurement, under consultancy of an expert. The strategic plan processes are carried out without any negotiations with the stakeholders both within and outside the municipal organizations. Consequently, it is clear that, in the eventual plan that is prepared without participatory processes, the demands of the people from various segments of the society are not considered democratically. Obviously, this situation is likely to cause problems in the implementation as well.

Given the reasons specified above, Kadıköy Municipality carried out the process of strategic plan preparation with a participatory local government perspective. Throughout the plan preparation process, where decision-making and search conference methods were used, various meetings and decision-making practices that were open for communication and interaction were experienced.

Participatory strategic plan making process from June to November 2014 targeted a sustainable approach in process management through making use of the knowledge and experience of those who participate in the process of designating and implementing the future of Kadıköy. 

Background History and Context 

The practice of strategic plan preparation in local governments was introduced in Turkey for the first time in 2005. According to the Article 41 of the Municipal Law of 5393, municipalities have the obligation to prepare their strategic plans of five years within the 6 months following a local election. According to the same law, in the preparation of that plan, local governments are recommended to receive opinions from universities, trade associations and non-governmental organizations:

"Strategic plan and performance plan

ARTICLE 41-Within six months as of the local general elections, the Mayor shall prepare a development plan and program, as well as a strategic plan in compliance with the regional plan (if any) and an annual performance plan before the beginning of the relevant year, to be submitted to the municipal council.

The strategic plan shall be prepared by obtaining the opinion of the universities and chambers (if any), and non-governmental organizations and shall be put into force upon approval of the municipal council.

It is not necessary to prepare a strategic plan in the municipalities with population less than 50.000.

The strategic plan and performance plan shall constitute the basis of the budget and shall have to be discussed and approved by the municipal council before the budget."

About Kadıköy Municipality:

Kadıköy is an administrative district on the Asian Side of Istanbul. Located on the southwest of Asian Side, Kadıköy is surrounded by Marmara Sea on the west and south, Üsküdar on the north, Ataşehir on the northeast and Maltepe administrative district on the east.

The first settlements in Kadıköy date back to 7th century BCE. In the Ottoman period, Kadıköy Municipality was defined under the names of “11th District” and “18th District” municipalities and its first mayor was Osman Hamdi Bey. In the Republic Period of Turkey, Kadıköy was declared as an administrative district on March 23, 1930 and was organized as a municipal district bound to the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul in 1984.

Consisting of 21 neighborhoods, Kadıköy has 25 km2 of surface area and average population of 21.812 per neighborhood. The population of Kadıköy is 482.571 according to the 2014 data of TurkStat.

Mr. Aykurt Nuhoğlu was elected as the Mayor of Kadıköy in the Local Elections held on March 30, 2014.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

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Participant Recruitment and Selection

Young people, people with disabilities, women, senior citizens, LGBTI people, fellow citizens as well as professionals, experts, academicians, NGO representatives, heads of neighborhoods were among the target groups.

Methods and Tools Used

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Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

Within the scope of the efforts for preparing the Strategic Plan of 2015-2019, the process of preparation and the working model were defined on the basis of a “Strategic Planning Guide for Public Administration Bodies” instrument prepared by the State Planning Organization and the knowledge of the municipal organization accumulated during the first two strategic planning periods.

The participatory approach is the core of the preparation period and the working model and widely participatory activities were organized and involved citizens, non-governmental organizations, professional society, public authorities, civil servants and all other stakeholders within the impact zone of the municipality in order to integrate their opinions, expectations and projects into the plan.

Preparing its Strategic Plan of 2015-2019, Kadıköy Municipality also aimed at laying the foundation of a “Participatory Local Government Model” and in this respect determined the vision of Kadıköy and the projects related to this vision with civic participation, defined and prioritized the scope of content thereof.

Throughout this process, Kadıköy Municipality designated a “shared future” by bringing together the people of Kadıköy, all residents of Kadıköy, the visitors of Kadıköy, as well as the organizations and civil society in Kadıköy. Therefore, Kadıköy Municipality combined the efforts for a peculiar “participatory local government model”.

The participatory activities that provided inputs for the strategic plan can be mainly summarized as follows:

1. Search Conferences with High Participation Levels: Three different search conferences, the first one of which was with young people, were held on the dates of 6th July 2014, 12th July 2014 and 13th July 2014. With participants brought together through open calls to all those who have a say in the future of Kadıköy, in 3 sessions, a total number of 350 people were included and a shared wisdom was created for the future of Kadıköy. Such designation of Kadıköy’s future was inclusive of the vision of Kadıköy, the mission and strategies of Kadıköy Municipality as well as project suggestions.

2. Focus Meetings with Experts:

In three delineated domains of Kadıköy Municipality's field of operation/ service, which are: 

a) Urban Regeneration and Planning (with 19 experts),

b) Culture and Art (with 37 experts)

c) Sports (with 34 experts),

focus meetings were held with the participation of the experts in each topic and targets and project suggestions were constructed for the vision.

3. In the final meeting with the stakeholders, the representatives from all participatory sessions, the members of the municipal council and the directors of the municipality met in a decision making conference and priorities among the visionary criteria and the projects suggested throughout the entire process were determined.

Parallel to the aforementioned activities bearing the perspective of “participatory local government model”, with a circular which is promulgated by the mayor’s office on the date of 02.05.2014, with the issue number of 2014/3, the preparations for the Strategic Plan of 2015-2019 were initiated. Prepared by the Strategy Development Unit within Kadıköy Municipality, a work program was effected in order for the plan to be completed within the period fixed by law. The next step was the creation of a strategic planning team with a selection of personnel assigned by relevant municipal offices specifically for the preparation of the strategic plan. The team was created with consideration of participation by directors from various ranks with adequate knowledge and experience for contribution, as well as by individuals from a variety of expertise areas. For the purpose of enabling operability, in-house workshops were carried out in order to train the strategic plan team.

As the strategic plan team continued working on determining the activities for the five years ahead, for guidance purposes, a detailed situation analysis was carried out including urban analysis, legal liabilities and legislation analysis, external environment analysis, stakeholder analysis and organizational analysis. All such analyses provided insight about organizational strengths and weaknesses as well as about threats and opportunities. Strategies with greater impact emerged after matching strengths with opportunities and critical areas that require new strategies emerged after matching weaknesses and threats.

In line with the mission, vision and core principles built upon such foundation, our organizational aims, targets and related activities were determined through effective use of external stakeholder analysis. Stakeholder analysis enables prior participation by young people as well as the inclusion of all stakeholders’ ideas, anticipations and projects, within an interactive environment.

The activities determined as an outcome of all the aforementioned effort acquired their final shape in consideration of the costing dimension within the framework of the duties, powers and responsibilities of the municipality.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The first annual assessment of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan of Kadıköy Municipality, which was approved by the Municipal Council and came into force in October 2014, was held on May 26, 2015. The Mayor of Kadıköy, Aykurt Nuhoğlu informed the residents of Kadıköy about the extent of implementation of the targets in the strategic plan.

The preparation of the Strategic Plan with the adoption of a participatory method increased the urban consciousness of citizens as well as informing them about municipal services. Furthermore, this approach also paves the way for the people who have a say about the future and administration of the city that they live in.

The citizens that took part in the processes of decision-making on the one hand learned about the problems and the future of Kadıköy and on the other hand involved actively on which projects and services should be implemented The related stakeholders are also participating in the monitoring and revision processes by attending the plan assessment meetings. This makes Kadıköy Municipality more accountable and transparent before citizens in terms of its projects and services.

The implementation of a participatory local government model in Kadıköy, in the light of notions as freedoms, equality and democracy, improved urban consciousness and awareness and improved the quality of life through the improvement of municipal services in Kadıköy.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

According to the article 41 of the Municipal Law No. 5393, the period allocated for the preparation of the strategic plan was limited to the 6 months as of the local elections. Due to legal liabilities and restrictions, some difficulties were experienced during the plan's preparation process. 

See Also


Women’s Forum and Development of a Local Equality Action Plan for Kadikoy 


External Links

Official Report: [Turkish] 

Press/Media: [Turkish] [Turkish] [BROKEN LINK]


Lead Image: Kadikoy Plan/Atesehir

Secondary Image: Kadikoy Strategic Plan/

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