Global Freedom of Expression

Turkey: İFÖD Report On The Right (Not) To Be Forgotten

Key Details

  • Region
    Europe and Central Asia

The Freedom of Expression Association (“İfade Özgürlüğü Derneği – IFÖD”), based in Istanbul, published Right NOT to Be Forgotten on the Internet: Freedom of Expression Assessment of the Application of the Turkish Right to Be Forgotten Measures under Law No. 5651. The study was authored by Yaman Akdeniz, a Professor of Law at Istanbul Bilgi University.

“Within the scope of [the report], it has been observed and identified that in recent years, individuals increasingly request that their futures not be negatively affected by news or published content related to events caused by themselves or third parties in their past, with reference to their right to be forgotten. These requests have been frequently evaluated as violations of personal rights under article 9 of Law No. 5651 by criminal judgeships of peace and the judgeships issued decisions of access blocking and content removal involving such news articles and content even though they did not contain any violation of personal rights or violation of the law at the time of their publication. Therefore, such requests may only be considered favourably in cases where there is no superior public interest, and especially in exceptional cases where ordinary citizens have the right to “control their past” and “to request that certain issues erased from their past and forgotten”.”

The study covers the meaning and history of the right to be forgotten and the right’s legal basis in Turkey. It then unpacks the approach that criminal judgeships undertake to “protect personal rights” while applying Law No.5651. The report also evaluates the presence of decision-making references to the case law of:

  • the Court of Cassation
  • the Constitutional Court
  • the European Court of Human Rights

With regard to the cases in which media outlets were targeted with sanctions, the report assesses whether the judgeships considered freedom of expression and press freedom. Finally, the study examines how sensitive the judges were to the removal of political content from press archives, and “whether the right to be forgotten was used as a separate censorship mechanism.”

Access the full report below or find it here.


Yaman Akdeniz

Professor of Law, Human Rights Law Research Centre at Bilgi University, Turkey