Turkey: Law On Protection Of Personal Data Is Effective Now: Are We Ready?

Last Updated: 23 May 2017
Article by Kagan Dora

Introduction

Law on Protection of Personal Data (the "Law") has come into force following its publication in the Official Gazette of Turkey on 7th of April 2016. The Law sets forth important rules applicable to real persons and legal entities handling personal information.

Please find below a Q&A document, which aims to inform you on the rules adopted by the Law, the penalties and fines for non-compliance with the Law, and the necessary steps towards getting your organization compliant with the Law.

Background

Turkish Constitution and certain laws, such as Turkish Criminal Code, included certain general rules about personal data and its process before the adoption of the Law.

Also certain sector specific regulations such as Law on Electronic Communications, Banking Law and E-Commerce Law included rules on protection of personal data. However, there was not a detailed framework law governing personal data.

This was deemed necessary for Turkey's EU accession process as well as for operations of Turkish companies which were harmed by the blacklist status of Turkey with respect to personal data protection.

There was also a strong public opinion and pressure as to imposition of a regulation area on personal data due to the developments in the technology, and increased use of internet and e-commerce.

What is personal data?

Any information relating to an identified or identifiable real person is considered personal data under the Law.

Information relating to legal persons are not included in this definition provided that such information does not related to a real person.

Personal data relating to religion, ethnicity, association, foundation and union membership, health and dressing preferences are considered special categories of personal data and process of the these data will be subject to requirements that will be provided by Data Protection Commission.

What is processing of personal data?

Processing of personal data includes operations such as collection, recording, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of personal data. This is a definition mirroring the provisions in the Directive 95/46/EC.

Who falls under the scope of the Law?

In general, any natural or legal person processing personal data falls within scope of the Law.

What are exempt from the scope of the Law?

Personal data which are processed in relation to activities such as national intelligence, freedom of expression, academic freedom or public security fall outside the scope of certain provisions of the Law. Also personal data that is anonymised falls outside of the scope of the Law, but the process of anonymizing personal data is subject to the rules under the Law. Anonymizing personal data is defined as processing personal data in a way that it could no longer be related to an identifiable person in any manner.

Who is Data Controller and Data Processor?

Data controller is any legal or real person who determines the purposes and means of processing of personal data and is responsible for establishment and management of data registry (e.g. employers in respect to their employees' personal data, websites in respect to the data they obtain from their users).

Data processor is any person processing personal data under the authority granted by and on behalf of the data controller (e.g. Cloud IT service providers, payroll companies). Accordingly with these definitions; it is possible for a company to be both a data controller and a data processor with respect to its different activities.

What makes data processing legitimate?

Personal data may be legitimately processed if:

  • explicit consent of the data subject is obtained. Explicit consent requires the data subject to be informed beforehand and the consent should be based on the data subject's free will, and should be unambiguously clear and be limited with the purposes for which it is obtained;
  • the personal data is publicized by the data subject
  • processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation, or is obligatory for performance of a right;
  • processing is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract, to which the data subject is a party, personal data may be processed only for the purposes relating to such performance;
  • processing is necessary for the legitimate interests pursued by the controller unless such interests are overridden by the interests of the data subject with respect to fundamental rights and freedoms;
  • the data subject is unable to express his consent; personal data relating to him can only be processed for protecting vital interests of such data subject.

What other rules apply to processing?

Following rules apply to processing of personal data:

  • Personal data should be accurate, and, if necessary, up to date.
  • Personal data should be kept no longer than is necessary for the purposes it has been collected.
  • Processing should be for legitimate and specified purposes in accordance with law and good faith.
  • Personal data may be transferred to third parties only upon explicit consent of the data subject, or if the transfer is required by law.
  • Personal data may be transferred abroad upon data subject's explicit consent. When the processing is based on other legitimate grounds, the country to where personal data is transferred should be regarded to be safe in protecting personal data, by Personal Data Protection Authority, or the tranferee should be providing adequate safeguards.
  • Measures to prevent unlawful access to and processing of personal data should be taken.
  • Data subject should be informed on the identity of data controller, purposes and means of processing and conditions under which the personal data may be transferred to third parties.
  • Data subject's requests for information on and erasure or rectification of their personal data should be met.
  • Data processors and controllers should be register with the Personal Data Protection Authority before they start processing.
  • Processing should be compliant with other regulations such as the Banking Law and the Law on Electronic Communications.

When will the Law's provisions come into force?

What sanctions will be applicable for incompliance with the Law?

What impact will the Law have on our business?

Today personal data has a continuously increasing effect on how we operate our businesses. Considering the value it adds to businesses, it is clear that personal data is a valuable asset for companies especially with regard to its know-how and competitiveness.

With the ever-increasing usage of technology and internet, personal data requires protection and regulation. Also a large number of customer surveys demonstrate that customers are more sensitive about the privacy of the personal data.

For all these reasons, we believe that compliance with data protection should not be considered as a one-time project. Instead, it should be incorporated into the way we think of our businesses and should be conducted as an ongoing process.

Below are a few questions which could constitute a good starting point for a compliance process and which also provide a valuable benchmark to assess the awareness of a business with respect to protection of personal data.

  • What personal data do we get?
  • From which resources do we collect the personal data?
  • Which personal data do we need? For what purposes? Are there any personal data that we do not need but collect anyway?
  • How do we categorize those personal data with respect to its collection, storage, use and destruction?
  • Are we compliant with the current regulations with respect to such processes?
  • How will we be effected with the Law and the future secondary regulations?

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.

Authors
 
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 Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

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.

Disclaimer

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.

Registration

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 by clicking here .

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.

Cookies

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.

Links

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.

Mail-A-Friend

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.

Security

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.