Constitutional Court Annuls Provisions of the Internet Law No. 5651


With the decision dated October 11, 2023, and numbered E: 2020/76, K: 2023/172 (“Decision”), published in the Official Gazette dated 10 January 2024 and numbered 32425, the Constitutional Court (“Constitutional Court”) annulled certain provisions of the Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Combating Crimes Committed through These Publications (“Internet Law”).

In its assessment, the Constitutional Court found some of the provisions subject to the annulment request to be in conformity with the Constitution, as it follows:

1. The concept of “social network provider” introduced in the section of the Internet Law was not contrary to the Constitution, as it was not ambiguous or unpredictable and was a rule introduced in the public interest.

2. The provision regulated in Additional Article 4 of the Internet Law on the opening of representative offices in Turkey and related obligations for institutions and organisations that are social network providers originating from abroad with more than one million daily accesses from Turkey does not constitute a violation of the Constitution and therefore there is no need to make any decision.

Annulled the following provisions for unconstitutionality:

3. The phrase “removal of content” in Article 8(4) was annulled. In this context, the President of the ICTA will not be able to make an ex-officio decision to remove the content of broadcasts that constitute the offenses commited on the internet under the Article 8.

4. The phrases “content and hosting provider” in Article 8(11) have been annulled, so that the ICTA will not be able to impose administrative fines on content and hosting providers within the scope of the offenses in Article 8, in addition to access providers.

5. Article 9, which regulates the specific cases of content removal/access blocking in cases of violations of personal rights due to broadcasted content on the internet, was completely annulled. In fact, the Decision finds some specific provisions in Article 9 unconstitutional (for example, the provisions on the removal of content and the provision on the right to be forgotten), but since the annulment of all these provisions will lead to the non-application of other provisions, the entire Article 9 has been annulled. The the annulments to this Article has made based on the reasoning that the provisions on the removal of content are considered to restrict freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The annulment of these provisions will take effect within 9 months following the publication date (10 January 2024) of the Decision in the Official Gazette.

You can access the full Decision from the link below (in Turkish).

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