The Central Civil Registration System (MERNIS)
Turkey has a long tradition in civil registration. The establishment of the civil registries dates back to the first population census conducted in 1904 during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Proclamation of the Republic of Turkish in 1923, however, brought significant changes to the way civil registries are maintained. In 1928, following the acceptance of the Latin alphabet, Arabic letters and numbers were abandoned in the maintenance of the registries. In 1934, last names were granted to each family and individual, abolishing the practice of appellations. It was not until 1972, however, when the introduction of Law No 1543 and its successor Law No 1587 paved the way for the modernisation of the civil registration system in Turkey. The amendments made to the abrogated Law No 1587 envisaged that "The Ministry of Interior shall be empowered to ensure the transfer of family registries to registries kept in electronic form and to facilitate carrying out civil registration acts using these registries, to provide measures ensuring the security and privacy of the registries kept in electronic form, to repel the civil registries kept in paper form, to determine the civil registration offices empowered with issuing, registration and safekeeping of reference documents, to decide on the use of electronic signature in all kinds of civil registration acts carried out in electronic form, and to meet the requests for information from the records kept centrally in electronic form by the public institutions and the work flow in the headquarters and the districts in the scope of the principles and procedures to be determined within the completeness of civil registration services.” The Law also dictated that the civil registries, comprised of family registries, special registries and microfilms maintained in paper or electronic form, are official documents maintained in paper or electronic form on a district and family basis which include information used to determine the rights and obligations of persons, their identity, family relations, nationality and civil status. Civil registries are official documents which have to be kept indefinitely. Currently, the main legislation covering all aspects of civil registration is the Civil Registration Services Law No 5490, dated 29.04.2006.
The modernisation of civil registration system in Turkey culminated in 2000 with the introduction of the Central Civil Registration System or MERNIS, as is known by its abbreviations in Turkish, set up after long and arduous work.
MERNIS is a centrally administered system where any changes in civil status are registered electronically in real time over a secure network by the 966 civil registration offices spread throughout the country. The information kept in the central database is shared with the public and private agencies for administrative purposes.
The aim of the system is to ensure the up-to-datedness and secure sharing of personal information and therefore increase the speed and efficiency of the public services provided to the citizens.
MERNIS has become the backbone of the e-Government infrastructure in Turkey. Currently, the MERNIS database houses more than 130 million personal data files and (as of January 2009) more than 2000 public bodies are using the up-to-date data from the MERNIS database. The services provided by MERNIS are as follows:
• Modernisation of civil registration services by transferring the civil registries into electronic form
• Assignment of an unique Turkish Republic Identity Number to every Turkish national
• Provision of on-line exchange of personal information using the identity numbers as identifiers
• Provision of better demographic statistics using information technologies
• Enabling easy, fast and secure delivery of public services to the users by sharing identity information with public sector institutions and agencies, thus reducing bureaucracy
Son Güncelleme: 17.2.2009