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Turkey

Summary

Law: Law on Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 ('the Law')

Regulator: Personal Data Protection Authority ('KVKK')

Summary: The Law outlines a similar framework to the European Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC). Secondary legislation in Turkey, in the form of regulations and communications, has been evolving in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'). The Law establishes the KVKK and the Board as the supervisory authorities responsible for its enforcement. The KVKK serves a mostly administrative role, while the Board is the decision-making organ within the KVKK. The KVKK was established as an independent regulatory authority with institutional and financial autonomy and is responsible for ensuring personal data protection and raising awareness in this respect.

Insights

In pursuit of a longstanding governmental objective to converge with EU legislation, notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), substantial revisions have been made to the Personal Data Protection Law No. 6698 (the Law). Published in the Official Gazette in March 2024, these amendments represent a concerted effort to align the Law with the GDPR principles, particularly focusing on addressing specific contentious issues. Yücel Hamzaoğlu, Partner at Hamzaoğlu Hamzaoğlu Kınıkoğlu Attorney Partnership, takes a look at the amendments and their impact on the current provisions.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming various sectors globally, and Turkey is no exception. As the adoption of AI technologies accelerates, governments worldwide are addressing the need for comprehensive regulations to ensure ethical and responsible AI development and deployment. Yücel Hamzaoğlu and Melike Hamzaoğlu, from Hamzaoğlu Hamzaoğlu Kınıkoğlu Attorney Partnership, delve into the current state of AI regulation in Turkey, examining guidelines, existing legislation, and the influence of the EU AI Act.

On December 22, 2023, the Turkish Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK) published the Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy in Mobile Applications (the Guidelines) to address the existing and potential risks regarding the protection of privacy in mobile applications and to provide general recommendations to data subjects and data controllers. Melis Mert, of BTS & Partners, provides an overview of the key takeaways and enforceability of the Guidelines. 

The Turkish Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK) published its guidance on the processing of genetic data in October 2023 in the Guidelines on Matters to be Considered in the Processing of Genetic Data (Genetic Data Guidelines). In this Insight article, Melis Mert, from BTS & Partners, explores the highlights and key takeaways of these guidelines. 

In this report, OneTrust DataGuidance and Esin Attorney Partnership provide a means of analyzing and comparing data protection requirements and recommendations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law on Protection of Personal Data (LPPD). 

The report, which was last updated in April 2023, examines and compares the scope, main definitions, legal bases, data controller and processor obligations, data subject rights, and enforcement capacities of the LPPD with the  GDPR. 

You can access the latest version of the report here.

Law on Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 ('the Law') introduced a significant number of responsibilities for domestic and foreign data controllers, among which the appointment of a data controller representative ('DCR'). Can Sözer, Berfu Öztoprak, and Ecenur Etiler, from Esin Attorney Partnership, discuss the role of DCRs and compare it to that of contact persons and data protection officers ('DPOs').

In Turkey, rules regarding commercial communications are governed under Law No. 6563 of 2014 on the Regulation of Electronic Commerce ('the E-Commerce Law') and the Regulation on Commercial Communications and Electronic Commercial Messages 2015 ('the Regulation on Commercial Communication'). In 2020, with the amendments made under the Regulation on Commercial Communication, Turkish legislators introduced the Commercial Electronic Message Management System ('İYS'). Can Sözer, Berfu Öztoprak, Ecem Elver, and Ecenur Etiler, from Esin Attorney Partnership, provides an overview of the İYS, including which data companies need to submit to it and details regarding the registration procedure.

On 16 June 2022, the Personal Data Protection Authority ('KVKK') published the draft guidelines on examination of loyalty programs within the scope of the Personal Data Protection Law No. 6698 ('the Law') on its official website for public consultation, with the KVKK accepting opinions on the draft guidelines from stakeholders up until 16 July 2022. Melis Mert and Büşra Haltaş, from BTS&Partners, provide a summary of the key points presented by the KVKK in the draft guidelines.

The increasing use of the internet has amplified the importance of online tools in our daily lives. This trend has assigned great significance to the use of cookies and introduced legal and technical regulations worldwide. İlay Yılmaz, Can Sözer, Berfu Öztoprak, and Aybüke Gündel Solak, from Esin Attorney Partnership, discuss cookies, principles for data processing through cookies, as well as different trends and frameworks regulating their use in Turkey.

On 12 December 2019, the Turkish Institute of Health Data Research and Artificial Intelligence Applications ('the Institute') was established under the Presidency of Turkish Health Institutes, one of the institutions of the Ministry of Health. Melis Mert and Miray Muratoğluc, from BTS & Partners, discuss the background to the Institute, as well as to the health and artificial intelligence ('AI') in Turkey.

On 11 January 2022, the Personal Data Protection Authority ('KVKK') published its draft guidelines on cookie applications1 ('the Draft Guidelines') for public consultation, which covers cookies placed on the devices of data subjects and relevant privacy-related obligations. Melis Mert and Kaan İlısu, from BTS & Partners, provide an overview of the Draft Guidelines for data controllers who process personal data via cookies and are subject to the Law.

Artificial intelligence ('AI') is a concept that is progressively becoming more important in our daily lives and in most industries. Although its most prominent aim is to make our lives easier, data privacy concerns surrounding AI raise questions for regulators and individuals. AI's swift emergence and development in most markets and industries demands a more rigorous approach to establishing guidelines for it. İlay Yılmaz, Can Sözer, Yigit Acar, and Ecenur Etiler, from Esin Attorney Partnership, discuss the emergence of various guidelines, ethical rules, and recommendations on AI practices from the EU and Turkey.