The omnibus bill numbered 6552 (“Omnibus Bill”) has been published in the Official Gazette dated September 11, 2014.
Contents of the Omnibus Bill has caused controversy and debate between the ruling AK Party and the opposition Republican People’s Party (“CHP”).
The Omnibus Bill has amended the Law on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by Means of such Publications numbered 5651 (“Internet Law”). With the new amendments in force, the Internet Law now provides that all decisions of judicial authorities restricting access to a certain website shall be enforced within 4 hours. Prior to the Omnibus Bill, this period was 24 hours.
Moreover, a new paragraph has been added to Article 8 of the Internet Law by virtue of the Omnibus Bill empowering of the Presidency of Telecommunications (“Presidency”) to directly request access providers to restrict access to certain websites upon instructions of the Presidency’s chairman where delay in doing so would adversely affect national security, public order and prevention of crimes. The access providers are obliged to carry out the Presidency’s instructions within 4 hours upon receipt of such instructions. However, such restriction will have to be presented by the Presidency to the judge presiding of the criminal court for approval within 24 hours. The judge will then announce his/her decision within 48 hours.
Another important issue regulated by the Omnibus Bill is the article relating to privatizations. In this respect, the Omnibus Bill prohibits any transaction to repossess premises pursuant to any judicial decision where the said premises have been allocated by the Privatization Authority through a tender that concluded more than 5 years prior to the Omnibus Bill. The exceptions under the relevant agreement have been reserved.
However, this 5 year period will be calculated starting from the date on which all transactions regarding delivery of the premises have been completed (i.e. tenders and delivery of the premises completed on or before September 10, 2009 will benefit from this provision).
Apart from the above, the headline of the matters regulated under the Omnibus Bill is the tax amnesty. The Omnibus Bill introduces tax amnesties for public debts such as customs tax, social security payments and taxes within the scope of the Tax Procedural Law numbered 213.
As announced by the Head of the Treasury Mr. Mehmet Şimşek, the Omnibus Bill does not waive the tax fines imposed on the taxpayers. However, the taxpayers can be released from their duties arising from the delay fines, interests, late fees, administrative fines etc. accrued in relation to the principal amount of the public debt, by paying the inflation difference instead of the abovementioned fines or penalties. This tax amnesty will be applicable for public debts accrued on or before April 30, 2014.
On a final note, CHP has announced that they will appeal to the Turkish Constitutional Court against some of the provisions introduced by the Omnibus Bill.