|The Constitutional Court Decision dated 15.06.2021 and numbered 2018/24439 published in the Official Gazette dated 29.07.2021 and numbered 31552 pertains to a claim of an applicant having a political role (the “Applicant”); where the Applicant alleged that the Applicant’s right to request for protection of personal data within the scope of right to respect privacy was violated due to the fact that the full address of the Applicant and his spouse’s company, the general assembly minutes containing the identity numbers and signatures of his spouse and other relatives, the subscription information of the applicant’s spouse’s company and the company’s photos on the social networking site have been shared on a social networking site, namely Twitter (the “Decision”).
The Applicant in the individual application, stated that (i) the mentioned personal information shall be deemed personal data, and the applicant suffered the consequences of the disclosure of such personal data to the public, (ii) although it was clearly stated before the courts of first instance that this situation is against the rights of protection of personal data and respect for privacy, which are guaranteed under the Constitution; the Applicant’s rights of protection of personal data, respect for privacy and right to a fair trial were violated since the case was evaluated within the scope of freedom of expression.
The Constitutional Court, as a result of its evaluation based on the national and international legal regulations, decided that;
- The Applicant’s information published on Twitter were within the scope of information relating to an identified real person and accessing to, use of and processing of this information should be examined in terms of the right to request for the protection of personal data within the scope of the right to respect privacy,
- Article 20/3 of the Constitution secures the right to request the protection of the personal data for everyone; this constitutional guarantee corresponds to the right to respect privacy, protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights; considering the related international documents and comparative law and in light of the relevant provision of the Constitution, all the information about a specific or identifiable real person should be considered as personal data,
- Within the scope of the protection of privacy, the government has a positive obligation to protect all individuals within its jurisdiction against risks that may arise from the actions of both public authorities and other individuals, as well as the person himself in terms of the right to request the protection of personal data,
- Courts of first instance evaluated the concrete case within the scope of the freedom of expression by emphasizing that the parties are politicians and the messages on the social networking site are a way of criticism; but did not evaluate (i) to what extent and how the personal data of the Applicant was seized, (ii) for what legitimate purpose it was shared on the social networking site and (iii) to what public purposes it does serve ,
- For these reasons, it shall be resolved that the Applicant’s right to request the protection of personal data which is regulated under Article 20 of the Constitution was violated since it is understood that the courts of first instance did not fulfil their positive obligation to conduct diligent legal proceedings,
- A fundamental right was violated due to a court decision within the scope of an individual application, and the Decision should be sent to the relevant court for a retrial for the elimination of the violation and its consequences,
- The claim for compensation should be refused since it is understood that there is a legal benefit in retrial and also the retrial shall provide the necessary legal benefit and sufficient remedy.
You may reach the full Turkish text of the Decision via the link below: