Given growing concerns over the increasing use of drones in Turkish airspace, on February 22, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation adopted its Mandate on Drone Systems to regulate the use of drones in Turkey.

What the Drone Mandate says

The Drone Mandate is Turkey's first regulation on civil aviation drones. To ensure flight safety and the security of civil aviation, the Drone Mandate introduces requirements for drones weighing over 500 grams.

Under the Drone Mandate:

  • Drones over 500 grams must be registered with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation no later than May 1, 2016.
  • Registration can be online through the Directorate's website.
  • Unregistered drone operators are subject to administrative penalties.
  • Drones are not permitted to fly within nine kilometers of airports and other areas, e.g., public squares, and commercial and industrial zones.
  • Drones over certain weight thresholds are subject to technical safety requirements for safe landing in the event of a malfunction.
  • Drone operators are responsible for the regular maintenance and repair of their drones and are liable for damages caused by them.
  • Drones over 25 kilograms may only be operated by pilots licensed by the Directorate.
  • Drones used exclusively indoors are not subject to the Drone Mandate.

Conclusion

Prior to February 22, the use of drones in Turkey was unregulated. With the adoption of the Drone Mandate, there are now comprehensive rules for drone operators and importers. More than 2,000 registration applications have already been submitted to the Directorate within the first few days after publication of the Drone Mandate; many more are expected.