Content, hosting and access providers must comply with
take-down orders within 4 hours
With the adoption of an amendment to Law No. 5651, On
Regulation of Internet Publication and Combatting Crimes Committed
through Internet Publication, commonly known as the Internet
Law, the Turkish government's control and supervision of the
Internet has been elevated to an even higher level. The law
increases the authority of the Presidency of Telecommunications
under the Telecommunications Authority (the "Presidency")
and imposes greater liability on hosting providers.
The amendments will enter into force following publication in
the Official Gazette.
What the new article says
The Presidency can order content, hosting and access providers
to block access or take down online content in cases of emergency
within four hours of an instruction from the ministries or the
Prime Minister's office. The instruction may be to prevent
crime or to protect life, property, public health, national
security or public order.
The Presidency must present its order to a judge of the
Criminal Court of Peace within 24 hours. The judge must confirm or
reject within 48 hours, failing which the Presidency's order
The Presidency is only permitted to order access blocking for
the infringing content or section of the website. The Presidency
does have the right, however, to order access blocking for the
entire website if it concludes that only blocking access to the
infringing content or section would be insufficient to prevent the
infringement, or only blocking access to the infringing content
would not be technically possible.
The Presidency may initiate criminal proceedings against those
who produce or spread infringing content. Content, hosting and
access providers are required to provide information on those
subject to the criminal proceedings at the judge's request. If
the content, hosting or access provider fails to provide the
requested information, a judicial fine of TRY 60,000 to 1,000,000
(approximately USD 23,000 to 390,000) may be imposed.
If the content, hosting or access provider fails to block
access to or take down infringing content, an administrative fine
of TRY 50,000 to 500,000 (approximately USD 19,000 to 190,000) may
Although access providers' responsibilities are not
significantly altered, this new provision brings new and increased
liability for content and hosting providers — who are now
expected to respond to orders from the Presidency within four
The Presidency can now give direct orders to content and hosting
providers, in cases of immediate urgency, with the law expanding
the grounds of what constitutes an immediate urgency. Judges
already have the right to order blocking of an entire website, if
blocking only access for the infringing content would be
insufficient to prevent the infringement, and now this right is
extended to the Presidency in cases of emergency.
Actions to consider
Companies should be aware of how these significant changes to
the Internet Law may affect their online operations in Turkey, and
take steps to ensure compliance.
Baker & McKenzie
At Baker & McKenzie, we provide sophisticated advice on
Internet law matters, including online content regulation, online
advertising, domain names and e-commerce.
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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On 26 November 2015, amendments to the Law on Communications 2004 (the "Communications Law") were published.
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