In 1981, Turkey signed the Convention for the Protection of
Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data
("Convention") at Strasbourg. At long last, the
Convention has now been enacted into Turkish law. Ratification had
been delayed while Turkey completed enactment of the necessary
legislative arrangements in its domestic law. However, the
importance of the subject matter meant that Turkey changed its
approach to proceed with the domestic legislative requirements in
parallel to ratifying the Convention.
The Convention's purpose is to secure respect for every
individual's rights and fundamental freedoms in territories
belonging to the Convention's signatories, whatever an
individual's nationality or residence. The Convention
particularly addresses individuals' right to privacy, with
regard to automatic processing of personal data.
Law Number 6669 on Ratification of the Convention for the
Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of
Personal Data dated 30 January 2016 was published in the Official
Gazette on 17 February 2016 ("Ratification Law"),
entering into effect on the same date.
The Convention requires each signatory to take the necessary
measures in its domestic law to give effect to the basic data
protection principles outlined in the Convention. In parallel to
the Ratification Law, the 2016 Action Plan of Turkey's
64th Government includes enactment of the Draft Law on Data
Protection ("Draft Law") by the end of March 2016
(more). The Draft Law has been delivered to Turkish Grand
National Assembly on 18 January 2016. The Convention and the Draft
Law regulate the main principles and conditions for processing
personal data in a similar manner, even though the Draft Law's
scope of transmission of personal data to third parties is wider
than the scope set out in the Convention.
The Ratification Law declares that the Convention will also
apply to personal data which is not processed automatically (as per
Article 3(1)(c) of the Convention).
The Ratification Law specifically excludes the Convention from
Automatic processing of personal data realized by natural
persons exclusively for their personal use, or household
Public registers specifically regulated by law in Turkey.
Data available to the general public information in accordance
Personal data which is processed by public institutions for the
purposes of national security and defense, as well as for
investigation and prevention of criminal offences.
A personal data protection council will be established by each
member country which is responsible for implementing the
Convention. In Turkey, the Personal Data Protection Authority and
the Personal Data Protection Board (within the Authority) will be
established and responsible for implementing the Convention
(Section 6 of the Draft Law).
Please see this link for the full text of the
Ratification Law (only available in Turkish) and the Convention
(available in Turkish, English and French).
Information first published in the
MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
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