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The Privacy Advisor | Rising interest in Turkey: IAPP Istanbul chapter convenes Related reading: Turkey finally adopts data protection law

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Until just this month, there had been no data protection law adopted at the national level in Turkey. Therefore, knowledge on privacy and data protection issues is not very widespread.

Data protection was an issue regularly raised and highlighted in almost all of the Development Reports prepared quarterly by the EU Commission in terms of Turkey’s EU membership procedures. However, recently another crucial point has been added as an essential requirement for passing the law: The EU plans visa liberalization for Turks.

According to the joint plan agreed on the migration regime between the EU and Turkey, the Commission has promised to initiate a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens on the condition that the Turkish government would take certain key steps, such as enacting data protection law, which it has now accomplished.

Suddenly, the adoption of the law has led to significant development and awareness in the country in both private and public bodies.

The first IAPP KnowledgeNet meeting in Turkey was held on January 28. Merve Gözüküçük, senior consultant from BTS & Partners, and Onur Korucu, senior consultant from PwC, are IAPP Turkey KnowledgeNet Chairs. Under their supervision, a meeting titled “Protection of Personal Data Law is nearly published: Are we ready?” was held with participants from various sectors of the Turkish economy.

In the first session, Founder of the Research and Applications Institute of Information Technology Law in Bilgi University Asst. Prof. Dr. Leyla Keser outlined the historic developments and current discussions with the Justice Commission.

Managing Partner of BTS & Partners Yasin Beceni presented important topics of the draft law contained in the 64th Government Program. Beceni also discussed technical details and hints about the implications on public and private sectors that will be affected by the law.

The second session dealt with practical experience. Berce Kaya, legal counsel, and Banu Babacan, director of human resources of Arçelik, shared their experiences and discussed the importance of the National and Foreign Compliance Project on Data Protection, which they started in 2012. Risk Assurance Services Manager at PwC Yaşar Yüzer presented the Information Security Framework of Data Protection.

Due to the current developments and the law's entry into force, representatives from the IT, insurance, telecommunication, finance and automotive sectors also participated in the meeting. Similar meetings are planned to bring together various sectors under the same umbrella of the IAPP later this year.

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