Providing electronic communications services in Turkey has
become even more difficult for operators.
On December 30, 2014, the Information Technologies and
Communications Authority (the "ITC
Authority") amended the Authorization Regulation in
the Electronic Communications Sector and the Administrative
Sanctions Regulation, introducing new obligations on
What the amendments say
Share Capital Requirement: Under the amendment to the
Authorization Regulation, companies wishing to provide fixed phone
services must have share capital of at least TRY 1 million (approx.
USD 431,000). Authorizations for current operators not meeting this
threshold by March 30, 2015, will be revoked.
Infrastructural Requirements: The Authorization
Regulation requires authorized operators, without regard to the
services provided, to upgrade their infrastructure to facilitate
access blocking requests by the Presidency of Telecommunications
under Law No. 5651 (the "Internet Law")
and other laws, including Law no. 5397, which empowers the police
and the gendarmerie to lawfully intercept, tap and record
electronic communications as well as assess
This requirement is not new; however,
following the amendments, operators that fail to fulfill the
infrastructural obligations will be prohibited from offering their
services to other operators and end users. Moreover, operators will
not be allowed to offer their services to other operators who have
not updated their infrastructure in line with ITC Authority
standards and principles.
This is in line with recent amendments to Article 6 of the Internet
Law, which specified Internet service provider obligations.
Recently, the phrase "to the extent it is technically
possible for the Internet service provider" was removed
from the text of the law, turning it into a blanket obligation for
all Internet service providers, regardless of their infrastructural
The Administrative Sanctions Regulation has also been amended to
reflect the changes in operators' infrastructural obligations.
As a result, authorizations for operators who do not fulfill the
infrastructural requirements will be revoked. If, despite a TIB
warning, an operator continues to provide electronic communications
services to another operator that has not yet upgraded its
infrastructure, the service providing operator is subject to an
administrative fine of up to 3% of its annual turnover, and/or
revocation of its authorization. The amendment introducing these
administrative sanctions will become effective February 28, 2015,
to give operators time to update their infrastructure.
Increased sanctions for failure to satisfy TIB
requests: Under amended Article 30 of the Administrative
Sanctions Regulation, any authorized operator failing to fulfill
TIB requests under the Internet Law and other laws are subject to
an administrative fine of up to 3% of its annual turnover, and/or
revocation of its authorization. Additionally, if the operator is
sanctioned for these violations, other legal entities formed by the
sanctioned operator's shareholders (holding 5% or more of its
share capital), executive board members or other directors could be
deemed ineligible to offer electronic communications services.
Actions to consider
Operators currently authorized to offer fixed voice services
should raise their share capital to TRY 1 million by March 30,
2015, to avoid losing their authorizations.
Without regard to the services provided, all operators
currently authorized to offer electronic communication services in
Turkey should upgrade their infrastructure prior to February 28,
2015, to accommodate TIB requests and avoid administrative
sanctions and/or losing their authorization.
These amendments reiterate the obligations under Article 12(5) of
the Electronic Communication Act and extend the requirements under
Article 6A of the Internet Law, which requires that every Internet
access provider possess the hardware and software necessary to
implement each access blocking decision of the TIB, no matter their
scope of services. If authorized operators cannot accommodate TIB
decisions, despite efforts to create the technical infrastructure
in a timely and adequate fashion, the operators will be at serious
risk of regulatory liability, such as authorization revocation
and/or an administrative fine up to 3% of their annual
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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