The Turkish Trade Ministry has carried out extensive amendments to the Regulation on Commercial Communications and Commercial Electronic Messages, which oversees commercial communications and reporting obligations for commercial electronic messaging.

An Amendment Regulation was published in the Official Gazette on 4 January 2020, which mainly applies to the Commercial Electronic Communication Management System (tr. İleti Yönetim Sistemi or IYS).

What is the IYS?

The IYS's main purpose is to facilitate approval to receive commercial electronic communication through the establishment of a newly launched platform that allows for the rejection of communications (if desired) and the management of the complaint process.

The Turkish Union of Chambers and Exchange Commodities (TOBB) has been authorised to establish the IYS. (The platform's website can be found here).

Service providers and their brands will be assigned IYS numbers, which these providers to monitor consents and rejections from receivers. Service providers must provide customer service numbers, text numbers or URL addresses, which are specified for rejection purposes only in commercial electronic communications. This enables the receiver to exercise the right to reject these addresses.

According to the Amendment, all individuals and legal entities wishing to send commercial electronic communications must register in the IYS. Receivers who do not give approval over IYS will not receive commercial electronic communications.

There are some exceptions to the consent requirement. Specifically, communications do not require consent in the following circumstances:

  • Commercial electronic communication about altering, using and maintaining provided goods and services;
  • Commercial electronic communication that involves notifications about subscriptions, membership, partnerships, collections, fee payments, information updates, purchases and deliveries; and,
  • Commercial electronic communication sent to clients by companies operating as intermediaries over capital markets.

Deadlines

Companies must begin registering from 4 January 2020 by uploading the obtained permissions to the system. Approvals obtained before the passage of the Amendment must be transferred to the IYS by 1 June 2020.

Until 1 September 2020, receivers must control their consent status. If they want to be left out of these communications, they must change their IYS consent status. After this date, service providers can legally send communications to them. Until then, however, service providers must check a receiver's consent status before sending communications.

In conclusion, according to the regulation, consent must be obtained for service providers to send commercial electronic communications for promoting goods and services, promoting its business or increasing its recognisability by sending celebratory messages. With the recently passed Amendment, the IYS platform has become a new system to obtain these permissions.

Unless something goes wrong, the IYS will begin operations on 1 September 2020 with a possible three-month extension if there are technical problems.

Service providers must comply with the Amendment and register with the IYS if they wish to send commercial electronic communications. Since the IYS is currently not up and running, service providers need to pay attention to the designated dates for registration.