Turkey: Electronic Messages As A Tool For Marketing In Turkey: New Regulation, New Rules

Last Updated: 5 August 2015
Article by Sahin Ardiyok and Barış Yüksel

In the past few years, electronic messages have become one of the most prominent (and irritating) tools for marketing in Turkey. Due to the lack of legislation governing the protection of personal data, personal information such as e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of many consumers could easily be accessed by service providers and there are no rules limiting how this information may be used for marketing purposes. Although general and comprehensive legislation on personal data protection is yet to be issued, the introduction of the Law Considering the Regulation of Electronic Trade and the relevant secondary legislation is seen as an important step forward for reducing the amount of spam that consumers receive via e-mail, SMS and other forms of electronic messages. The Law became effective on 01.05.2015 and the secondary legislation (Regulation Considering Commercial Communications and Commercial Electronic Messages) was entered into force quite recently on 15.07.2015.

The most significant concepts introduced by the new legislation are the "explicit consent (opt-in)" and the "right to reject (opt-out)". The new legislation clearly states that service providers may send commercial electronic messages to consumers only if the consumers allow them to do so. Moreover, the new legislation contains deterrent administrative fines for service providers who are in violation of these rules.

After the introduction of the new legislation, the amount of electronic messages sent by service providers decreased dramatically. However, service providers started sending electronic messages, which state that consumers will continue to receive such messages unless they explicitly state otherwise (providing consumers with a right to opt out). Such an approach, where it is assumed that the consumers implicitly consent to receiving commercial electronic messages by not rejecting them, is a clear violation of the new legislation. This is because the concept of "explicit consent" requires consumers to provide their explicit affirmative consent for receiving these messages. In other words, the consumers shall receive commercial electronic messages only when they have voluntarily opted in to do so.

Furthermore, the new legislation states that service providers shall not send electronic messages to acquire the consent of consumers. The de-facto situation where all service providers are sending electronic messages to consumers in order to acquire their consent may seem to be in conflict with this rule. However, the new legislation foresees an exception for the databases that were formed prior to the entry into force of the Law.

The new legislation makes a distinction between two types of databases. The first group consists of databases that are formed by service providers themselves, whereby the electronic communication contact information of consumers were obtained directly by the service providers (service provider database). The second group consists of databases that are formed by third parties who had acquired general authorization to use the consumer information for the purpose of sending commercial electronic messages on behalf of other service providers (third party database).

As far as service provider databases are concerned, the legislation allows service providers to continue sending commercial electronic messages to consumers. The only requirement is that the consumer must be informed that he/she is a part of a database and he/she should be reminded of his/her right to opt out. Thus, when consumers receive a message which states that they are currently listed in the database and that they may choose to leave by sending an electronic message, this would not be a violation of the legislation.

The application of the new legislation as regards third party databases is different. Third party databases are those that are formed by larger institutions such as mobile operators and banks. These companies hold a significant bargaining position vis-à-vis consumers and it is easier for them to obtain general authorization from consumers. These third parties then send commercial electronic messages on behalf of service providers. However, consumers generally do not understand the scope of the general authorization (a typical case of information asymmetry). The new legislation takes this factor into consideration. According to paragraph 4 of provisional article 1 of the Regulation, the service providers, on behalf of whom the third party databases had previously sent electronic messages, have the right to send one electronic message to consumers to ask for their explicit consent for the continuation of these messages. In the case of third party databases, the Regulation makes it clear that the silence of the consumer shall not be regarded as an implied consent.

The second important concept that is introduced by the new legislation is the right to reject (right to opt out). The new legislation provides that consumers who previously provided explicit consent to receive commercial electronic messages from certain service providers shall be given the right to opt out. These consumers shall be able to use this right whenever they want, freely and without having to show reasons.

Other than that, all service providers must include information to make themselves identifiable to consumers when sending commercial electronic messages.

The legislation draws up a strict legal framework and contains detailed rules and serious sanctions in relation to the sending of commercial electronic messages. Service providers who violate these rules will be sanctioned in accordance with Article 12 of the Law. Subparagraph (a) of paragraph 1 holds that service providers who are in violation of the rules regarding the sending of commercial electronic messages shall be subject to administrative fines between 1.000 TL and 5.000 TL. Paragraph 2 of the same Article further states that in the event of service providers sending illegal commercial messages to more than one party, the administrative fine shall be increased to up to ten times.

It is known that the mere presence of strict rules and sanctions would not be effective without efficient execution. When such rules, which are aimed at protecting consumers, are considered, it is generally the case that the efficiency of their execution depends on the participation of the consumers. Hence, for example, the applicability of the rules and the deterrent effects of the sanctions would increase if the service providers know that the consumers would report misconduct to the relevant authorities.

In many instances, the process of reporting misconduct leads to the creation of transaction costs and consumers often choose not to get involved. In order to remedy the transaction cost problem, the new legislation designed a very simple complaint mechanism. According to the Regulation, consumers may use the e-government website[1] or the website of the Ministry of Customs and Trade[2] to make complaints.

Although the legislation is relatively new, it seems that service providers will need to find new ways to reach consumers as sending commercial electronic messages to consumers will not be as easy as it used to be. The new legislation is an important step for the protection of consumers but the Turkish legislative framework could never be complete unless a general legislation concerning the protection of personal data is also introduced.

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
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please 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