The Law on Ratification of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data of the Council of Europe was published in the Official Gazette and came into force on February 18 2016.(1)

Turkey signed the convention – which had been deferred since 1981 – with declarations. As per Article 2 of the draft law on ratifying the convention, it will be effective from its publication in the Official Gazette.

Significant declarations under the convention include the following:

  • As per Article 3(2)(a) of the convention, it does not apply to:
    • the automatic processing of personal data that is realised by natural persons exclusively for their personal use or household purposes;
    • public registers specifically regulated by law in Turkey;
    • data that is available to the general public in accordance with the law; and
    • personal data processed by public institutions for the purposes of national security, defence and the investigation and prevention of criminal offences.
  • The convention applies to personal data which is not processed automatically.

Article 4 of the convention states that "each party shall take necessary measures in its domestic law to give effect to the basic principles for data protection set out in this chapter" and that "these measures shall be taken at the latest by the time of entry into force of this convention in respect of that party". This means that Turkey will need to enact a specific data protection law in order to fulfil the requirements set out under the convention. The Turkish Grand National Assembly recently discussed the Draft Law on Protection of Personal Data; the next step will be the vote on the draft law's separate articles.

For further information on this topic please contact Gönenç Gürkaynak or Ilay Yilmaz at ELIG, Attorneys at Law by telephone (+90 212 327 17 24) or email ( or The ELIG, Attorneys at Law website can be accessed at


(1) The text of the convention in Turkish and in English is available here.

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