The amendments ("Amendments") to the Banking Law No. 5411 ("Banking Law") were published in the Official Gazette on February 25, 2020 and entered into force on the same date. The Amendments introduce significant changes to the online advertising practice related to banks.
Article 150 of the Banking Law was amended, establishing a new tool for combating fake banking advertisements on online mediums.
- Under Article 150 of the Banking Law, conducting banking activities without the necessary authorizations is a crime for real and legal persons. The Amendments state that online advertisements implying that the advertisers are conducting banking activities when the advertisers actually lack the proper authorization may result in banning access to the advertisement.
- Per Article 150, if the crime is committed through the Internet and the content and hosting providers are in Turkey, access to the offending websites are banned. The access ban is in force until a judge lifts the ban.
- If Article 150 is violated through the Internet and the content and hosting provider is located abroad, the Information Technologies and Communication Authority blocks access to these websites upon the Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Authority’s application.
The Amendment introduces a new method to combat fake banking advertisements. However, the part, which introduces access blocking to websites, is ambiguous and may be interpreted as blocking access to entirety of websites, which merely host the online advertisements, rather than blocking access to online advertisements themselves. Therefore, it may create confusion in practice and lead to disproportionate access blocking decisions.