Edition 49: 26 July 2017
Editorial Team:
Orçun Çetinkaya, LL.M., Ezgi Baklacı, LL.M., and Pelin Oğuzer, LL.M.
Turkish Data Protection Authority Announce Draft Regulation on Deleting, Destroying or Anonymizing Personal Data

Turkey’s Data Protection Authority recently published the long-awaited draft of the Regulation on Deletion, Destruction and Anonymization of Personal Data (“Draft Regulation”). The Draft Regulation outlines proposed details of requirements for data controllers, as well as definitions and exceptions. Notably, it proposes that if deleting personal data will lead to an inability to access and use other data in the system, the personal data will be deemed to have be deleted, provided other conditions are met.

Once the reasons for processing personal data no longer exist, the Law on Data Protection No. 6698 (“Law”) requires data controllers to erase, destroy or anonymize personal data, either ex officio or at the data subject’s request. The Draft Regulation was developed to provide further details on this topic.

The Draft Regulation defines the terms “deletion”, “destruction” and “anonymization”. It also provides clarity about circumstances where reasons for processing personal data no longer exist.

Accordingly, the Draft Regulation proposes that data controllers be required to delete, destroy or anonymize personal data in any of the following circumstances:

– The legislation which forms the legal basis for processing personal data becomes invalid.

– The purpose of the processing of personal data is abolished.

– Processing personal data contradicts the law or principles of good faith.

– The data subject withdraws consent where processing the personal data is subject to explicit consent.

The Draft Regulation also proposes exemptions. Most notably, it states that if deleting the personal data will lead to an inability to access and use other data in the system, the personal data will be accepted as having been deleted, provided the data controller manages to:

– Archive personal data, by making it impossible to link to a data subject,

– Disable third party access, and

– Limit access to only authorized persons.

The Draft Regulation also addresses internal procedures for data controllers to delete, destroy, or anonymize personal data. It proposes that data controllers which are subject to registry obligations be required to prepare a Personal Data Retention and Erasure Policy.

Failure to delete or anonymize personal data could result in imprisonment for between one to two years (Article 138, Penal Code No. 5237).

Please see this link for the full text of the Draft Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkish Residents Must Now Use Approved Institutions for Capital Market and Security Transactions

Turkey has introduced new restrictions for leverage procedures, as well as for buying and selling securities and similar capital market instruments. Parties who reside in Turkey can now only perform these acts via institutions authorized by the Capital Market Board. 

The Decree Amending the Protection of the Value of Turkish Currency Decree Numbered 32 (“Amendment Decree”) was published in Official Gazette number 30113 on 3 July 2017, entering into effect on the same date.

Restrictions on Parties Residing in Turkey

The Amendment Decree states that for parties residing in Turkey:

– With regard to foreign currency transactions, leverage procedures (and similar instruments) can now only be performed via institutions authorized by the Capital Market Board.

– Intermediary firms can now only perform leverage procedures, buy and sell securities and similar capital market instruments via institutions authorized by the Capital Market Board.

Exporting Precious Metals

When exporting precious metals, it continues to be sufficient to simply submit a statement for the exports and no other export/import regime, decree, or regulation will apply.

However, the Amendment Decree states that if requested, the following regulations can now apply to such exports:

– Decree on Exemption of Taxes, Duties and Charges in Export, Sales and Deliveries Considered to be Export, and Foreign Currency Earning Services and Activities (Ministers Decree dated 15 December 1999, numbered 99/13812).

– Export Communiqué on Exemption of Taxes, Duties and Charges in Exports, Transit Commerce, Sales and Deliveries Considered to be Export and Foreign Currency Earning Services and Activities dated 2008/6.

– Decree on Inward Processing Regime (Ministers Decree dated 17 January 2005, numbered 2005/8391).

Please see the link for full text of the Amendment Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Introduces Rules for Medical Tourism Sector, Including Regulated Prices

Turkey’s Ministry of Health has announced a detailed new regulatory regime for the medical tourism industry. The new rules cover health care standards, authorizations and pricing elements. Health institutions and intermediary institutions must obtain an International Health Tourism authorization certificate by 13 July 2018 in order to offer health tourism services. The prices for medical services will now also be regulated by the Ministry of Health, on consultation with the Health Tourism Coordination Committee.

Other notable aspects of the new regulatory regime include:

– Health institutions and intermediary institutions must establish an International Tourism Health Unit in order to accept, register, diagnose, treat, bill, discharge, translate and coordinate related operations.

– A doctor who meets the following criteria must be appointed as manager of each International Tourism Health Unit:

– Qualified to practice medicine in Turkey.

– Proficient in a foreign language.

– Have at least five years’ vocational experience in Turkey, including at least two years in public or private health institutions.

– Each International Tourism Health Unit must have at least two employees who can speak English.

– Only authorized health or intermediary institutions can undertake advertising and offer information about these services.

The Regulation on International Health Tourism and Tourist’s Health was published in Official Gazette number 30123 on 13 July 2017, entering force on the same date. Please see this link for full text of the Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Adds New Certification Step for Foreign Documents in Tender Processes

Turkey has introduced an additional certification step for documents used in Turkish tenders, applying to documents originating from countries that have not signed the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (or related conventions). Documents from these countries must now be certified by the relevant country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before being certified by the local Turkish consulate. The new process applies to tenders for consulting services, service procurement, product purchases and construction work.

Accordingly, certifying documents which originate from non-signatory countries can now be done in two ways:

– By the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that country, then by the local Turkish Consulate, or

– By the Representation Office of that country located in Turkey, then by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The new certification step will also apply to documents within the following tender-related processes:

– Administrative Specifications.

– Prequalification Specifications.

– Administrative Specifications on Restricted Tender Procedure.

The following regulations were published in Official Gazette number 30109 on 29 June 2017, entering into effect on the same date (only available in Turkish):

– Regulation Amending Regulation on Consulting Services Procurement Tenders

– Regulation Amending Regulation on Service Procurement Tenders

– Regulation Amending Regulation on Product Purchase Tenders

– Regulation Amending Regulation on Construction Works Tenders

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Turkey Updates Tax Procedures to Now Automatically Offset VAT and Special Consumption Taxes

Turkey has updated tax procedures so that any outstanding amounts which a taxpayer owes for Special Consumption Tax are now automatically offset against any VAT refunds which the government owes to the taxpayer. Previously, these two elements were dealt with as separate transactions.

The new system will apply for tax inspection reports issued from 22 June 2017 onwards. From that date, the tax authority will automatically make the calculations, based on tax inspection reports.

Please see this link for full text of Amendment of the Value Added Tax General Implementation Communiqué which was published in the Official Gazette numbered 30104 on 22 June 2017.

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Parties in Supply Chain Receive Six Months to Notify Registered Owners about their Use of Geographical Indications in Turkey

Parties in the supply chain for products which qualify as a registered geographical indication in Turkey are also entitled to use the indication for their own purposes, even if this intellectual property right is formally registered to another party. The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office has announced a time limit for supply chain parties to notify the registered owner about their use of the geographical indications.

Accordingly, parties which wish to use a registered geographical indication in this way must notify the registration holder within six months of the registration being published. The notification simply involves the supply chain party advising the registration owner about their intended use, rather than requests permission.

For geographical indications registered before 10 January 2017, supply chain parties should have notified the registration holder by 10 July 2017.

If supply chain parties plan to begin operations after the geographical indication is registered, the six-month notification period begins once operations have begun.

Parties which simply sell the goods are not required to make any notification in this respect.

Registration holders must keep a list of such entitled parties.

Please see this link for the full text of the announcement (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Approves 2017-2019 Action Plan to Support National Employment Strategy

Turkey’s High Planning Council has updated the country’s 2014 to 2023 National Employment Strategy by approving an action plan for the 2017 to 2019 period. The latest action plan continues its earlier approach of targeting growth in seven specified sectors.

The latest action plan continues to focus on four policy goals.

– Strengthening the relationship between education and employment.

– Providing assurance and flexibility in the labour market.

– Increasing employment of special groups.

– Strengthening the relationship between education and social protection.

The action plan includes specific employment strategies, targets and policies focused on encouraging and improving specific sectors

– Information technology.

– Finance.

– Construction.

– Health.

– Agriculture.

– Textiles and ready to wear clothing.

– Tourism.

Please see this link for full text of the National Employment Strategy (2014-2023) and Action Plans (2017-2019), as per the High Planning Council’s decision dated 4 July 2017 (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Streamlines Legislative Requirements for Workplaces to Give Employees a Weekly Holiday

Turkey has repealed a 1924 law which required certain businesses to have a weekly holiday on Sundays. Non-exempt workplaces were previously also required to apply to local administrations for a license to work on Sundays. This license requirement and related fees have now been removed. However, other legislation continues to apply, protecting employees’ rights to a weekly holiday.

The Law on Weekly Holiday dated 2 January 1924, numbered 394 was repealed by the Law Amending Certain Laws and Decrees Aiming to Develop Industry and Support of Production, published in Official Gazette number 30111 on 1 July 2017.

The repealed law required workplaces operating in provinces with 10,000 people or more to have a weekly holiday on Sundays. Some exemptions applied, such as for hospitals, pharmacies, utility providers, or printing houses. Non-exempt workplaces were required to apply to local administrations for a license to work on Sundays. This license requirement and related fees have now been removed.

Despite the law being repealed, other legislative provisions continue to protect employees’ rights to a weekly holiday. These provisions include:

– Sundays are deemed a weekly holiday which must begin at latest 1 pm on Saturdays and last at least 35 hours (Law on National Holidays numbered 2429).

– If employees work during determined normal working hours, they must receive a weekly holiday lasting at least 24 hours within every seven-day period (Labor Law numbered 4857).

– Employers must grant a weekly holiday to employees on Sundays, or if not possible under the circumstances, a full-day holiday on a working day (Turkish Code of Obligations numbered 6098).

Please see this link for the full text of the relevant legislation (only available in Turkish).

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