The legislative proposal dated February 02, 2022 which envisages amendments to the Turkish Penal Code (“TPC”) and the Code No. 5651 on Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcast was published on the website of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (“TBMM”).

This proposal is still under the Commission’s examination. If the proposal is accepted by TBMM, significant amendments will occur in the codes specified as important. According to the text of the proposal, after the adoption of the proposed provisions, it will enter into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

In the justification of this proposal, the importance of social media and digitalization in daily life and the necessity of foreseeing various regulations are mentioned. In this context, the establishment of the “Social Media Complaints Evaluation Commission” (“Commission”) envisages important regulations regarding fake social media accounts and content published on the internet. In addition, the fines stipulated in the Code No. 5651 are also to be increased and new types of crimes that can be accused in social media will be added. In terms of TPC, there are amendments regarding the punishment of people who create fake accounts and commit crimes on social media and the internet.

You can find some important regulations mentioned in the proposal below:

  1. By adding a new article titled Social Media Complaints Evaluation Commission to the Code No. 5651, the working order and organizational structure of this commission have been determined. Applications to this Commission regarding social media and content on the internet will be made through an automation system. The Commission takes action within 24 hours and notifies the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (“Authority”) to fulfill the decision to remove the content and/or block access within 4 hours. On the other hand, if the Authority determines that the relevant content constitutes a crime, it will file a criminal complaint.
  2. In the event that the Commission’s decisions are made in the context of social network providers and the said providers do not comply with the Commission’s decisions, this obligation must be fulfilled within 24 hours from the notification of the decision. Otherwise, the social network provider may be fined from 300,000,00 Turkish Liras to 1,500,000,00 Turkish Liras. If the social network provider does not fulfill the decision within 48 hours from the moment the administrative fine is imposed, natural and legal persons who are taxpayers in Turkey are prohibited from posting new advertisements to the relevant social network provider. Also, if the obligation is not fulfilled within 7 days from the date of the advertisement ban decision, the internet traffic bandwidth of the social network provider may be reduced by 50%.
  3. Sexual harassment, threat, blackmailing, hatred and discrimination, crimes against public peace, crimes related to economy, industry, and commerce have been added to the catalogue crimes that can be committed in relation to the publications specified in the Code No.5651, made on the internet and the content of which is sufficiently suspicious that they constitute the crimes listed in the Code No.5651.
  4. In terms of sexual harassment and threatening crimes, the expression “opening fake accounts on social content networks and the internet, sending threatening messages or content through these accounts and mediating” has been added to the TPC as an aggravating factor.
  5. According to TPC, crimes against private life and privacy, public peace, public trust, public health, and crimes related to the disclosure of secrets related to duty are committed online, with imprisonment and administrative fines.
  6. A new provision titled “Using Fake Identity on Social Content Networks and the Internet” has been added to the TPC. According to that addition to TPC regulates that creating new social media accounts with fake identities will be punished with imprisonment up to 6 months and will be imposed punitive fines.
    As explained above, with the proposal, it has been tried to take quick action regarding crimes committed over the internet and social media. In addition, deterrence has been tried to be provided in terms of crimes by increasing crime types and penalty rates.

You may access the proposal by this link and contact us for further queries.

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Authors: Bilge Derinbay, Hande Ülker Pehlivan


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