Turkey: Electronic Messages As A Tool For Marketing In Turkey: New Regulation, New Rules

Last Updated: 5 August 2015
Article by Şahin Ardiyok and Barış Yüksel

In the past few years, electronic messages have become one of the most prominent (and irritating) tools for marketing in Turkey. Due to the lack of legislation governing the protection of personal data, personal information such as e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of many consumers could easily be accessed by service providers and there are no rules limiting how this information may be used for marketing purposes. Although general and comprehensive legislation on personal data protection is yet to be issued, the introduction of the Law Considering the Regulation of Electronic Trade and the relevant secondary legislation is seen as an important step forward for reducing the amount of spam that consumers receive via e-mail, SMS and other forms of electronic messages. The Law became effective on 01.05.2015 and the secondary legislation (Regulation Considering Commercial Communications and Commercial Electronic Messages) was entered into force quite recently on 15.07.2015.

The most significant concepts introduced by the new legislation are the "explicit consent (opt-in)" and the "right to reject (opt-out)". The new legislation clearly states that service providers may send commercial electronic messages to consumers only if the consumers allow them to do so. Moreover, the new legislation contains deterrent administrative fines for service providers who are in violation of these rules.

After the introduction of the new legislation, the amount of electronic messages sent by service providers decreased dramatically. However, service providers started sending electronic messages, which state that consumers will continue to receive such messages unless they explicitly state otherwise (providing consumers with a right to opt out). Such an approach, where it is assumed that the consumers implicitly consent to receiving commercial electronic messages by not rejecting them, is a clear violation of the new legislation. This is because the concept of "explicit consent" requires consumers to provide their explicit affirmative consent for receiving these messages. In other words, the consumers shall receive commercial electronic messages only when they have voluntarily opted in to do so.

Furthermore, the new legislation states that service providers shall not send electronic messages to acquire the consent of consumers. The de-facto situation where all service providers are sending electronic messages to consumers in order to acquire their consent may seem to be in conflict with this rule. However, the new legislation foresees an exception for the databases that were formed prior to the entry into force of the Law.

The new legislation makes a distinction between two types of databases. The first group consists of databases that are formed by service providers themselves, whereby the electronic communication contact information of consumers were obtained directly by the service providers (service provider database). The second group consists of databases that are formed by third parties who had acquired general authorization to use the consumer information for the purpose of sending commercial electronic messages on behalf of other service providers (third party database).

As far as service provider databases are concerned, the legislation allows service providers to continue sending commercial electronic messages to consumers. The only requirement is that the consumer must be informed that he/she is a part of a database and he/she should be reminded of his/her right to opt out. Thus, when consumers receive a message which states that they are currently listed in the database and that they may choose to leave by sending an electronic message, this would not be a violation of the legislation.

The application of the new legislation as regards third party databases is different. Third party databases are those that are formed by larger institutions such as mobile operators and banks. These companies hold a significant bargaining position vis-à-vis consumers and it is easier for them to obtain general authorization from consumers. These third parties then send commercial electronic messages on behalf of service providers. However, consumers generally do not understand the scope of the general authorization (a typical case of information asymmetry). The new legislation takes this factor into consideration. According to paragraph 4 of provisional article 1 of the Regulation, the service providers, on behalf of whom the third party databases had previously sent electronic messages, have the right to send one electronic message to consumers to ask for their explicit consent for the continuation of these messages. In the case of third party databases, the Regulation makes it clear that the silence of the consumer shall not be regarded as an implied consent.

The second important concept that is introduced by the new legislation is the right to reject (right to opt out). The new legislation provides that consumers who previously provided explicit consent to receive commercial electronic messages from certain service providers shall be given the right to opt out. These consumers shall be able to use this right whenever they want, freely and without having to show reasons.

Other than that, all service providers must include information to make themselves identifiable to consumers when sending commercial electronic messages.

The legislation draws up a strict legal framework and contains detailed rules and serious sanctions in relation to the sending of commercial electronic messages. Service providers who violate these rules will be sanctioned in accordance with Article 12 of the Law. Subparagraph (a) of paragraph 1 holds that service providers who are in violation of the rules regarding the sending of commercial electronic messages shall be subject to administrative fines between 1.000 TL and 5.000 TL. Paragraph 2 of the same Article further states that in the event of service providers sending illegal commercial messages to more than one party, the administrative fine shall be increased to up to ten times.

It is known that the mere presence of strict rules and sanctions would not be effective without efficient execution. When such rules, which are aimed at protecting consumers, are considered, it is generally the case that the efficiency of their execution depends on the participation of the consumers. Hence, for example, the applicability of the rules and the deterrent effects of the sanctions would increase if the service providers know that the consumers would report misconduct to the relevant authorities.

In many instances, the process of reporting misconduct leads to the creation of transaction costs and consumers often choose not to get involved. In order to remedy the transaction cost problem, the new legislation designed a very simple complaint mechanism. According to the Regulation, consumers may use the e-government website[1] or the website of the Ministry of Customs and Trade[2] to make complaints.

Although the legislation is relatively new, it seems that service providers will need to find new ways to reach consumers as sending commercial electronic messages to consumers will not be as easy as it used to be. The new legislation is an important step for the protection of consumers but the Turkish legislative framework could never be complete unless a general legislation concerning the protection of personal data is also introduced.

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.

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.

Şahin Ardiyok
Barış Yüksel
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”

Up-coming Events Search
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
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 you may opt out by clicking here

    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.

    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.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions