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The Amendments Brought by the Law on Amending the Law on the Regulation of Electronic Commerce

The Law Amending the Law on the Regulation of Electronic Commerce brings several changes to the regulation of electronic commerce in Turkey. These changes can be summarized as follows:

  1. Definitions: The law introduces definitions for various terms such as electronic commerce intermediary service provider, electronic commerce service provider, electronic commerce platform, electronic commerce marketplace, Electronic Commerce Information System (ETBIS), net transaction volume, and economic integrity.

  2. Liability of Intermediary Service Providers: The law maintains the provision that intermediary service providers (formerly known as marketplace owners in practice) are not responsible for the unlawful actions and transactions of sellers on their platform. However, under the new regulation, intermediary service providers are required to remove content if they become aware that the content provided by sellers (service providers) is unlawful and to inform relevant authorities. How intermediary service providers will become aware of illegality, whether through third-party complaints or by conducting legal assessments for all content, remains a subject of interest.

  3. Removal of Content Due to Intellectual Property Rights Violations: The law imposes an obligation on intermediary service providers to remove content from their platform in case of notification of intellectual and industrial property rights violations. While a duty to “notice and takedown” existed before through Supreme Court decisions, the new regulation essentially places intermediary service providers in the position of a judge, evaluating the evidence and notifications of the parties involved and deciding whether to remove or reinstate content on the platform.

  4. Unfair Commercial Practices: The concept of unfair commercial practices in electronic commerce is introduced. The aim is to prevent sector-dominant intermediary service providers, known as “gatekeepers,” from engaging in unfair commercial practices and leveraging their dominance in the market. This regulation aligns with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) in the European Union.

  5. Prohibition of Self-Promotion: The law prohibits intermediary service providers and their affiliated entities from selling their brands on their own platforms. This is considered one of the most radical changes introduced by the new amendments.

  6. Gradual Additional Obligations: Intermediary service providers with a net transaction volume exceeding ten billion, thirty billion, and sixty billion Turkish liras within a calendar year will face incremental additional obligations.

  7. Advertising with Brand Names: Intermediary service providers are prohibited from advertising with the names of brands without obtaining written consent from the brands they host on their platform.

  8. Electronic Commerce License: Intermediary service providers with a net transaction volume exceeding ten billion Turkish liras within a calendar year and a transaction count excluding cancellations and returns exceeding one hundred thousand will be required to obtain an electronic commerce license.

  9. Compliance Period: Apart from the obligation to obtain a license, intermediary service providers are given until January 1, 2024, to comply with the other obligations imposed by the law.

  10. Effective Date: All changes introduced by the law will be in effect as of January 1, 2023.
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