Turkey: The EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Turkish Personal Data Protection Law

Last Updated: 11 August 2016
Practice Guide by Deris IP Attorneys

The EU Regulation 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing of Directive 95/46/EC has been published on the Official Journal of the European Union on May 04, 2016.

Many companies were already in compliance with the Data Protection Rules brought by the Directive. However, the Regulation introduces new rules and regulations to the Data Protection ecosystem and it is therefore important to look into the changes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In the meantime, Turkey enacted The Law on Protection of Personal Data, which has entered into force as of April 07, 2016. The Law on Protection of Personal Data has been prepared mainly in line with the Directive 95/46/EC instead of the GDPR, and accordingly is being criticized for not benefiting from the tools and grants that were introduced by the GDPR.

The Main Changes Introduced by the GDPR:

a) Harmonization of the EU Countries:

The EU regulation will provide the harmonization of data protection between the EU Countries. The GDPR will be directly applied to the member states as of May 25, 2018.

The effect of this harmonization shows up in the “One stop shop” application for companies who are active in more than one member state. The companies are able to work with only one Lead Data Protection Authority if they are located in more than one member state.

Prior to this rule, data subjects were requested to work only with the Authority of the country in which they have been operating. This had caused the data subject to receive inconsistent decisions from the different Authorities on the same cases, as each Authority has its own approach and area of freedom. The harmonization is expected to prevent these kinds of inconsistent decisions in the long run.  

Moreover, the GDPR introduces the European Data Protection Board in place of the  Article 29 Working Party, which will be an authority of the EU and will be a legal entity. 

b) Over the Borders of the EU:

Data controllers and processors who are active within the EU but not established in the Union will be subject to the GDPR as long as they process an EU resident’s personal data in connection with good/services offered to them, or monitor the behavior of individuals within the EU .

The main rationale that lies behind this idea is to strengthen EU’s position in the global digital market competition by forcing companies outside the EU to be in compliance with the GDPR.  It has  been explicitly stated in the Press Release of the European Commission dated 12 March 2014 that “if companies outside Europe want to take advantage of the European market with more than 500 million potential customers, then they have to play by the European rules.”

c) Requirement of Notification:

In accordance with the Directive, the data controllers were required to notify the Data Protection Authorities in certain cases. The GDPR removes the requirement of notification and replaces this requirement with procedures to be conducted by the data controller.

On the other hand, Article 36 stipulates the cases where the data controller shall consult the supervisory authority. However, the data controller is no longer required to ask for permission in case of a data transfer based on standard data protection rules or binding corporate rules.

It seems that the requirement of notification is replaced with specific obligations introduced to the data processor and data controller by the GDPR. Art. 35 on “Data protection impact assessment”, Art. 46 on “Transfers subject to appropriate safeguards” and Art. 47 on “Binding corporate rules" are examples of the new obligations of the data controller and processor.

d) Right to be forgotten:

The data subject has the right to request the erasure of his/her data without undue delay.

The controller shall erase the subject data if:

  • the personal data are no longer necessary and in relation to the purpose for which they are processed,
  • the data subject withdraws consent, on which the processing was based,
  • the data subject objects to the processing and where the legitimate grounds of processing are not available,
  • the personal data have been unlawfully processed,
  • the personal data have to be erased for compliance with a legal obligation in Union or Member State law to which the controller is subject;
  • the personal data have been collected in relation to the offer of information society services

The above rights of the data subjects have been granted with the aim of empowering EU citizens, particularly teenagers, to be capable of protecting their online identity. The above rights are known by the society as “the right to be forgotten” based on the “Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González” case.

It should be kept in mind that the right to be forgotten is not an absolute right. The authorities should always strike the balance between the right to be forgotten and freedom of expression and/or information.

e) The responsibilities and obligations of the Data Controller:

The data controller shall implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure and be able to demonstrate that processing is performed in accordance with this Regulation.

The recital of the GDPR rules that the controller should be responsible for the carrying-out of a data protection impact assessment to evaluate, in particular, the origin, nature, particularity and severity of that risk where processing operations are likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons.

The controller should adopt internal policies and implement measures which meet in particular the principles of data protection by design and data protection by default. In the case of a personal data breach, the controller shall without undue delay and, where feasible, not later than 72 hours after having become aware of it, notify the personal data breach to the supervisory authority.

f) Consent:

The GDPR defines the consent of the data subject in detail. Accordingly, the consent of the data subject must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.

The affirmative act may be in the form of a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement. The affirmative act may include ticking a box, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement. Silence and pre-ticked boxes should not be accepted as consent.

Moreover, the consent must include all processes for which it is given and the data subject has to be sufficiently informed of the purpose of the data processing.

g) Parental consent:

The GDPR provides a specific level of protection to the personal data of children.

Article 8 of the GDPR stipulates that the processing of the personal data of a child shall be lawful where the child is at least 16 years of age. The GDPR enables countries to lower the age of children in this provision down to 13 provided that this is stipulated by the law of the member states.

Consent or authorization by the holder of parental responsibility over the child is searched where the child is under the age which is determined by the member state, i.e. 13-16.

h) International Transfers of Personal Data:

Data transfer to third countries may take place only if the conditions laid down in the GDPR are complied with by the data processor and data controller.

An international data transfer shall take place if the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organization in question ensures an adequate level of protection.

In the absence of a decision of the Commission, a controller or processor may transfer personal data to a third country or an international organization only if the controller or processor has provided appropriate safeguards, and on the condition that enforceable data subject rights and effective legal remedies for data subjects are available.

Moreover, a transfer of personal data should also be regarded as lawful where it is necessary to protect an interest which is essential for the data subject's or another person's vital interests, including physical integrity or life, if the data subject is incapable of giving consent.

i) Sanctions & Administrative Fines:

Data controllers who fail to fulfill their obligations will be charged to pay fines up to 10 000 000 EUR, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher.

Infringement of the basic principles of data processing, infringement of the rights of the data subject, infringement of conditions set forth in the regulation for the transfer of data, non compliance with an administrative decision, and failure to provide access to the supervisory authority for investigation will be subject to fines up to 20 000 000 EUR, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4 % of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher.


Turkey has newly enacted the Law on Protection of Personal Data which is, as said before, mainly in line with the principles of the Directive 95/46/EC instead of the GDPR.

Considering that the GDPR introduces a new interpretation of personal data protection especially by extending the territory of the implemented law, companies in Turkey will have to prepare both for compliance with the Turkish Law on Protection of Personal Data and with the GDPR.     

This document is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information in this document without first seeking legal advice. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any specific questions on any legal matter, you should consult a professional legal services provider.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Contact the Author?
Click here to email the Author
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Other Turkey Advice Centres
Competition and Antitrust
Intellectual Property
More Advice Centers
Significant Recent Cases
Useful Resources
Data protection is commonly defined as the law designed to protect your personal information, which is collected, processed and stored by “automated” means or intended to be part of a filing system.
In January 2012, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of data protection rules in the EU. On 4 May 2016, the official texts of the Regulation and the Directive have been published in the EU Official Journal in all the official languages.
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (Text with EEA relevance)
Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA
The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party was set up under the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data.
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.