Turkish Internet Law

The main legal framework governing the Internet in Turkey is Law numbered 5651, entitled The Law on the Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts (hereafter ‘Internet Law’).

The Internet Law mainly regulates three areas:
(1) The legal, criminal and administrative liability of Internet actors, such as content providers, hosting providers, ISPs (or so-called access providers), and public use providers (Articles 4, 5, 6, 7);
(2) The access restriction procedure for certain crimes, and the further details for combating such crimes, especially in cases of emergency (Article 8 and Article 8/A);
(3) The notice and take down procedures, the removal of content and blocking access to such content, in cases of violation of personal rights, due to Internet content (Article 9 and 9/A).

The Internet Law was enacted on 4 May 2007. The Internet Law underwent major reforms in 2014, and the law was amended by Law numbered 6518, dated 6 February 2014, and Law numbered 6527, dated 26 February 2014. Besides the reform of the legal framework, the case-law has provided a new insight with regards to interpretation of the legal framework.

According to the Preamble of the Internet Law, the main reasoning behind the adoption of the law is the online protection of children and families from harmful and illegal Internet content. In this regard, the main objectives of the law were determined as combating crimes, such as motivating the people to commit suicide, sexual harassment of children, promoting drug use, supplying drugs that are dangerous to health, obscenity, prostitution, and providing a place and opportunity for gambling.

However, in the course of time, the legal framework evolved in accordance with the changing circumstances of Turkish political discourse. The increasing Internet penetration rate in Turkey and the expansion of mobile connectivity (especially after 3G) increased the possible ways of using the Internet in the country.