New Requirements for OTTs in Turkey
The Amendment Law on the Media Law and Other Laws (“Amendment Law”) was published in the Official Gazette on 18 October 2022.
The Amendment Law incorporated significant amendments to the Electronic Communications Law w. no. 5809 (“Electronic Communications Law”) and adds the definition of the “over-the-top service” (“OTT”) as “interpersonal electronic communication services within the scope of audio, written and visual communication, presented (i) to subscribers and users with internet access, (ii) independently from the operators or the provided internet service, (iii) via a software open to the public”.
With the amendments, OTT service providers are included to the service providers that are required to obtain authorization from the regulator body of the telecommunication in Turkey, the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (“Authority”).
It is also regulated that OTT service providers must carry out their activities through their fully authorized representatives, that must be incorporated under Turkish Commercial Code as a joint stock or limited liability company in Turkey.
Further, depending on the presented OTT service’s nature, OTT service providers will be deemed as “operators” in terms of regulated rights and obligations under the Electronic Communications Law.
Additionally, in cases of incompliance, the Amendment Law regulates that the Authority may:
Take all types of measures in order to prevent the OTT services to be presented to users,
Imply administrative fine between TRY 1.000.000 to TRY 30.000.000 (approx. EUR 54.020 up to 1.620.600) against the OTT service providers that do not fulfil the obligations under the Electronic Communications Law or provide services without authorization.
Reduce the internet traffic bandwidth of OTT service providers up to 95% or block access to the application/website, if the administrative fine is not paid and the legislative obligations are not fulfilled; or if OTT service is provided without authorization, within the 6 months of the date the Authority notifies the OTT service provider.
This recent regulation for OTT services is quite broad and the details regarding authorization types and authorization steps are not yet published. The Authority is expected to provide the details related to authorization for OTT services in the coming days.
Authors: Burak Özdağıstanli, Sümeyye Uçar, Bensu Özdemir