Turkey: Data Protection Rules In Turkey – What Next?

Last Updated: 24 August 2018
Article by Ceylan Kara, Emre Özşar and Aslı Gülüm

 Turkey's first Data Protection Law ("DPL") came into force for the most part in April 2016. However, certain important provisions came into force later or were introduced by the regulations under the DPL published in late 2017.

In this alert, we will remind you of the major developments introduced by the DPL and the actions that you should have taken or should be taking to comply with the DPL and the regulations published pursuant to the DPL (together, the "DPL Laws").

Here is a timeline of the developments to date in data protection in Turkey:

To recap what you should have done to date:

  • Determined whether your company is "Processing Personal Data": given the broad scope of the relevant definitions, the answer is likely to be "yes".

    • Personal Data is defined in the DPL to include any and all kinds of information relating to an identified or identifiable real person; and
    • Processing is defined to include all acts performed on this Personal Data including collection, recording, storage, retention, alternation, disclosure, re-organization, disclosure, classification etc. – whether fully or partially through automatic or non-automatic means.
  • Sought express consent from your data subjects: the DPL's guiding principle is that Personal Data cannot be processed without the "express consent" of the data subject.
    So, if you are processing Personal Data, you should have sought the express (written) consent of your data subjects by informing them of:

    • their rights under the DPL;
    • relevant matters under the DPL Laws, including the proposed use of the data, any possible transfer and the legal basis for collection of the Personal Data; and
    • the identity of the data controller in your company – you should have appointed this person under the DPL Laws.
  • Assigned and registered in the data controllers' registry a data controller in the meaning of the DPL and empowered and assisted the data controller to take "all necessary technical and organizational measures" to meet the requirements of the DPL. These measures must permit the data controller to carry out the obligations in respect of (i) informing data subjects of their rights and of the company's processing of their Personal Data and (ii) taking measures to ensure data security.
  • Become compliant by April 7, 2018 with the DPL for Personal Data that you have collected and processed before the publication of the DPL. This means that:

    • you should have sought express consent from the data subject of such data or; if you have not, or the data subject has not consented, then
    • you should have erased, destroyed or anonymized such data prior to such date.
  • Considered whether your company is processing any of the special categories of Personal Data for which the DPL has separate and more stringent requirements (such as health; or race, religion, personal conduct and other similar categories) and comply with those requirements; and
  • Finally, and most importantly, ensured that you are now collecting and processing Personal Data in the manner required by the DPL, including:

    • fairly and legally;
    • for limited use and not excessively;
    • accurately and up to date; and
    • securely.

What has the Board for Protection of Personal Data (the "Board") done and what can you expect from them?

  • The Board has been constituted and has nine members.
  • The duties and powers of the Board includes to:

    • ensure that Personal Data are processed in accordance with fundamental rights and freedoms;
    • take final decisions with respect to complaints made to the Board that rights relating to Personal Data have been violated;
    • impose the administrative sanctions prescribed by the DPL Laws;
    • take other necessary regulatory actions; and
    • determine what will be the adequate security measures required for processing special categories of Personal Data.
  • The Board has already issued three decisions one of which is based on Article 6(4) of the DPL and determines what are the adequate security measures that data controllers must take when processing special categories of Personal Data (e.g. relating to race, political, religious, health conditions and the like).

What if I wish to transfer Personal Data outside of Turkey?

  • You must have express consent from the data subject to transfer.
  • The receiving country must have sufficient legal protection in place or, if it does not, the data controller in the receiving country must undertake to protect the data and you must receive Board consent.
  • As to Personal Data transfers to EU countries, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply starting on May 25, 2018 and offers sufficient protection.

What are the sanctions for failure to comply with the DPL Laws?

  • The DPL imposes criminal sanctions stipulated under the Turkish Criminal Code for some breaches under the DPL; this can mean sentences from one to two years under the relevant provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code.
  • The DPL also imposes administrative sanctions (fines of TL 5,942 – TL 1,188,542 or approximately $1,485 to $297,135 at current exchange rates) on violation of certain provisions of the DPL and these can apply to real and legal persons who are data controllers. It is not clear whether these will apply per breach or whether they will apply at the upper limit for all breaches by the same person.
  • Publicly-available information shows that there were 41 applications made to the Board in 2017 alleging breaches in sectors including media, banking, health and insurance. Nineteen of them were finalized and administrative fines were imposed on companies.


  • The DPL Laws represent a big step forward in the protection of the rights of Turkish citizens with respect to their Personal Data and towards harmonization with the EU GDPR.
  • Implementation of the DPL Laws will remain a work in progress for some time and many questions remain. The Board has already issued a number of decisions and clarifications that address some of the frequently-asked questions about implementation and seems committed to continuing to guiding companies to take the right steps in respect of protection of Personal Data.

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
Bezen & Partners
Gün + Partners
BTS & Partners
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
Bezen & Partners
Gün + Partners
BTS & Partners
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