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The most notable development in 2021 was the Turkish government’s regulation of advertising by social media influencers, in response to their emerging role in the advertising sector.


In order to protect consumers by ensuring that they understand when social media influencers’ posts are commercial advertising, the Turkish Advertising Board issued a new statutory guideline covering the advertisement activities of social media influencers, which has been in effect since 4 May 2021.


According to the guideline, influencers and advertisers are prohibited from creating the impression that influencers have voluntarily purchased goods or services without receiving financial benefit. Influencers are also prohibited from sharing a product or service that they have not personally used.


The guideline further restates that influencers are prohibited from promoting or providing advice on goods or services offered by doctors, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, and health institutions.


The guideline even states the method for providing advertisement notifications along with posts on social media like Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter that are shared by influencers and advertisers.


Certain terms must be stated in these posts, such as the hashtags “#Advertisement,” “#Sponsor,” or “#Cooperation” on Instagram stories, and a disclosure of sponsorship statement on Youtube videos through disclaimers like “With the support of [advertiser].” Although the guideline places primary responsibility on influencers, it does not exempt

advertisers from liability. The Guideline places the burden on advertisers to notify influencers of the duty to comply with the advertising rules,as they will each be held liable in the event of a violation.


Additionally, the Turkish legislature has issued new tax regulations in response to the overwhelming presence of influencers in advertising and the difficulties in collecting taxes from their marketing activities, requiring that advertisers pay the government 3/10 of the VAT specified on influencer-issued invoices.


The legislature has also provided two conditions for social media content producers (including influencers) to provide them income tax exemption. The first is creating an account in a Turkish bank and collecting all advertising earnings via this account. The second one is not reaching total annual advertising revenue to the published limits (TRY650 thousand for the year 2021).


It can be expected that with the growing role of social media marketing in advertising, further legal regulations regarding social media influencers in Turkey will likely be forthcoming.


Written by

Hande Ülker Pehlivan

NSN Law Firm

TIER 1

Lawyers at ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law have extensive experience advising media-sector clients. The team works on a range of cases including the launch of new media platforms, film productions and distribution arrangements. Lawyers have extensive experience working on a multitude of cases relating to media, entertainment and information technology law.


The TMT group at Güner Law Office works with some of the country’s largest media companies advising on regulatory and transactional matters. The highly regarded practice has a dedicated intellectual property practice, specialising in all aspects of copyright law. The firm is also distinguished for its litigation and arbitration expertise.  


Specialising in advertising, media and entertainment, NSN Law Firm routinely assists advertising agencies, radio broadcasters and television producers. Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the gaming sector, with experience assisting computer games companies and intermediary firms conducting sweepstakes and contests. The team has a reputation for excellence, and extensive experience advising on local and multinational media cases.  


TIER 2

Cerrahoglu Law Firm’s experience includes merger and acquisition advice to radio channels. The firm represents world-leading media companies, advising on media legislation and commercial law. The team negotiates a number of corporate transactions between Turkish partners and global media corporations.


CETINKAYA is a full-service law firm based in Istanbul, serving local and international clients. The team has extensive expertise in the fields of intellectual property, media and entertainment as well as technology. The firm advises a range of clients on the establishment of IP TV services, VOIP services and telecommunication services, such as in-car internet. The firm manages intellectual property portfolios, supporting clients in trademark, copyright, and patent law. Cetinkaya also has considerable experience in dispute resolution, business crime, compliance, corporate, employment and tax law. Lale Defne Mete leads the Media and Entertainment team.


Gökce Attorney Partnership has deep knowledge and experience in the media sector, acting for leading individual and companies that have game-changing business models. Adopting Gökce's long-lasting principle of "Answers. Not Theories.", the media team excelled its skills in intellectual property law, data protection, e-commerce and internet law. Gökce represents its clients on complex disputes and provides advice on daily business on traditional and digital media. Led by partners Görkem GökçeProf. Dr. Ali Pasli and head of the team Derya Evirgen, the team's clients range from authors, artists, publishers, producers, game developers, streaming platforms and online content providers, such as Spotify, Sony, Masomo/Miniclip, All Stars Music, Nimo.tv, Zynga, Gram Games, Eternal Fire and Onedio.


Gün + Partners has a high profile portfolio with clients from the broadcast and music sectors. Areas of specialisation include internet, private broadcasting and electronic communication. The firm’s service areas include advisory, transactional, dispute resolution and compliance. Clients single out the firm for its work on due diligence.


Pekin & Pekin’s media and entertainment team operates under the management of the  corporate practice, combining expertise in the area of tax, banking and dispute resolution. Corporate transactions account for a significant proportion of the firm’s work - with deals involving the print industry. The full-service practice,has a remarkable reputation with over four decades of activity.


TIER 3

Çaga & Çaga acts for magazines and newspapers, entertainment companies and advertisers. The team advises on media-related investments, management and re-organisations. Lawyers provide cross-practice assistance on tax and commercial disputes.


Litigation specialist Suluk International Property has significant experience in the area of rights protection. The firm includes a team of is highly regarded litigators and respected figures in the legal market. In related work, the team advised Turksat, the country’s only cable television operator, on re-transmission rights. In other work the team assisted with sublicensing issues relating to a television series screened on local television channels.


TIER 4

Gültekin Law Office has two decades of experience advising clients in the media sector. The firm works with clients on media-related investments, management and organisation and daily operations. Other core areas of emphasis include advertising regulations and licensing.  


Öncel, Aydin, Duman & Uygun Attorney Partnership combines e-commerce, IT and media law under one practice group. With particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, the team advises on investments, compliance and legislation. Lawyers are also have experience in handling copyright and advertising disputes.


TIER 1

ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law

Güner Law Office

Moroglu Arseven

NSN Law Firm

 

TIER 2

BTS & Partners

Cerrahoglu Law Firm

CETINKAYA

Esin Attorney Partnership (Member firm of Baker McKenzie)

Gökce Attorney Partnership

Gün + Partners

Pekin & Pekin

 

TIER 3

Caga & Caga  

Durmaz Law Firm

Sengüler & Sengüler

Suluk Intellectual Property

Taboğlu Attorneys at Law


TIER 4

Cigdemtekin Cakırca Aranci   

Goksu Safi Isik  

Gültekin Law Office

KKO Legal

Öncel, Aydin, Duman & Uygun Attorney Partnership

Soydemir Hukuk Bürosu



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