Turkey: Data Protection Authority

Last Updated: 19 October 2016
Article by Stéphanie Beghe Sönmez, Gokhan Bozkurt and Deniz Özkan

The Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 (the "Law") was published in the Official Gazette and entered into force, for most of its provisions, on 7 April 2016. Certain significant provisions of the Law, however, such as those regarding the transfer of personal data, the rights of the data subjects, the data controller registry and the penalties imposed in case of violation of the Law, have entered into force on 7 October 2016. Although there is still a number of unknowns regarding the implementation of the Law, now that it is fully in force, companies need to be fully alert about their personal data processing practices, and may have to revisit some of their current practices in order to comply with the new rules.

Temporary Article 1 of the Law provides that the Data Protection Authority (the "Authority") will be established within six months of promulgation of the Law. This six-month period has ended on 7 October 2016. Five members have been appointed to the Authority's Data Protection Board (the "Board") by the Parliament on 5 October 2016, and their appointment published in the Official Gazette dated 7 October 2016. The appointment of other members remains pending. As the Authority and the Board will have a central role in implementing the rules newly entered into force, a level of uncertainty will remain until the Board is fully in place, and starts issuing the decisions and exercising the powers contemplated by the Law.

You will find below the key highlights these developments.

Provisions entered in force on 7 October 2016

The Law has entered into force, for most of its provisions, on 7 April 2016, while certain provisions of the Law have entered into force on 7 October 2016. These provisions are Article 8 (Transfer of Personal Data), Article 9 (Transfer of Data Abroad), Article 11 (Rights of Data Subject), Article 13 (Application to the Data Controller), Article 14 (Complaints to the Board), Article 15 (Procedures and Principles Regarding Review upon Complaint or Ex-officio), Article 16 (Data Controllers' Registry), Articles 17 (Criminal Offences) and Article 18 (Misdemeanours).

Transfer of data falls under the broad definition of data processing and is regulated under Articles 8 and 9 of the Law. Now that these articles are in force, legal entities and individuals that process personal data through automatic means or as part of a data filing system, i.e., data controllers, will need to follow these rules for the transfer of personal data to third parties and abroad. The Law sets forth that the express consent of the data subject is required before the processing of their personal data. In the absence of express consent, personal data may still be processed if one of the circumstances listed in Article 5 or Article 6 of the Law exists. Furthermore, Article 6 of the Law requires data controllers to take adequate measures, which will be determined by the Board, for the processing of sensitive personal data.

The express consent requirement also applies to the transfer of data abroad. If one of the circumstances in Article 5 or Article 6 of the Law exists and there is adequate protection in the country to which the personal data will be transferred, then data can be transferred without the data subject's express consent. In case there is no adequate protection in the country, then the data controllers in Turkey and in the relevant country must undertake to provide adequate protection in writing and the Board's approval should be obtained. The Board determines the list of countries with adequate protection to which personal data may be transferred without the express consent of the data subject. Until the determination of this list, we recommend that companies either refrain from transferring data abroad or obtain the data subjects' express consent to avoid breaching the Law.

Data controllers may also now be subject to the requests of data subjects asserting their new rights under the Law, in writing or through tools to be determined by the Board. The data controllers must process these requests free of charge as soon as possible depending on the nature of the request, but within 30 days at the latest. If the request requires the data controller to incur expenses, these may be charged to the data subject based on the tariff to be announced by the Board. A data subject may apply to the Board within 30 days of the date that the data subject receives the data controller's response and in any event within 60 days of the date of application to the data controller, if the data controller rejects the application or fails to respond, or if the data subject does not find the data controller's response satisfactory.

Once the Authority and the Board are established, there will still be a preparation period for the Board to take the necessary measures and issue crucial decisions necessary for the Law to be fully implemented, such as the list of countries it considers to provide adequate protection. We would expect the Authority as a regulator to publish certain guidance for this transition period. The Law provides that secondary legislation must be issued within one year of promulgation of the Law, i.e. until 7 April 2017.

Data Controllers' Registry

One of the responsibilities of the data controllers under the Law is to register with the data controllers' registry to be established under the Authority. The data controllers will be required to register with the data controllers' registry within the timeline to be determined and published by the Board. The Board, however, is entitled to introduce exceptions to this requirement considering objective reasons such as the type and quantity of the data, whether the processing of data results from the law, whether the data will be transferred to third parties, etc. These matters are not limited in the Law. Thus, the Board will determine the cases in which the data controller does not need to register with the data controllers' registry. The procedures and principles governing the data controllers' registry will be defined by the Authority through secondary legislation.

Data Protection Authority

The Authority will be established as a public, administratively and financially autonomous entity to fulfill the duties defined in the Law. The Authority's duties include following national and international developments in the legislation, cooperating with international institutions, and submitting an annual activity report to the Presidency, the Prime Ministry and the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry (TBMM İnsan Haklarını İnceleme Komisyonu). The Authority will be based in Ankara and placed under the authority of the Prime Ministry.

The Board is the decision body of the Authority and is comprised of nine members, five of whom are appointed by the Parliament, two by the President and two by the Council of Ministers. The Board may convene with at least six members and take decisions with the affirmative votes of the majority of its members. Board members cannot refrain from voting. Five members have been appointed to the Board by the Parliament on 5 October 2016, and their appointment published in the Official Gazette dated 7 October 2016. The appointment of other members remains pending.

The Law sets forth the duties and authorities of the Board, which include ensuring that personal data is processed in conformity with fundamental rights and freedoms, settling examining complaints regarding the violation of data protection rights and investigating whether personal data is processed in line compliance with the legislation (either upon following a complaint or ex officio, if it learns about an alleged violation) and taking temporary measures if necessary.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
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”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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