X opens Turkey office following ad bans, further sanction risks

Social media platform X has opened a local office in Turkey, becoming the last major platform to abide by the country’s legislature. The government pressured the platform with advertisement bans and bandwidth restriction threats for years, demanding a local representative.  

Duvar English

The social media platform X on May 22 opened a representative office in Turkey, announced Transport and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu. 

The minister suggested that the advertisement limiting sanctions imposed upon the company had paid off, as the ministry requested local representatives from major digital media companies since 2020. 

"We had communication,” noted Uraloğlu. “Recently, we decided to implement bandwidth limitation and informed them."

X accepted to appoint a local representative in 2021 when it was Twitter, per the 2020 amendment to “The Law on Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Combating Crimes Committed by the Means of Such Publications.” 

However, the process was not finalized and further stalled following Elon Musk’s acquisition and the restructuring of the company.

Widely used digital technology companies such as Meta, Instagram, LinkedIn, VKontakte (VK), YouTube, Dailymotion, TikTok, Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video, were among those that decided to open representative offices in Turkey.

Following repeated warnings, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) banned new advertisements on the platform by real and legal persons, and taxpayers residing in Turkey in July 2023.

Transport and Infrastructure Deputy Minister Ömer Fatih Sayan stated that the next step would be decreasing the platform's bandwidth initially by 50 percent and later by 90 percent if they did not abide by local requirements. 

In early May, the Parliamentary Commission on Digital Mediums warned the social media platform that it could face closure if it did not appoint a local representative.