Recent Developments on Supporting the Film Industry in Turkey
The Regulation Amending the Regulation on Procedures and Principles for the Evaluation and Classification of Motion Picture Movies (“Amending Regulation”), published in the Official Gazette on 20 October 2021, and effective from that date, has introduced a change to the exception for movie ticket promotions, campaigns, and wholesale bans.
The Regulation on Procedures and Principles for the Evaluation and Classification of Motion Picture Movies (“Regulation”) prepared by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism (“Ministry”) entered into force upon its publication in the Official Gazette on 22 October 2019, abolishing its namesake regulation dated 18 February 2005.
The Regulation not only deals with the evaluation and classification of motion picture movies and trailers produced in Turkey or imported from abroad, but it also covers issues regarding the screening of such films.
Following its specification of the organizational structure of the Board of Evaluation and Classification (“Board”), the Regulation determines the Board’s procedures and principles for evaluation and classification. Accordingly, the Board evaluates and classifies motion picture movies and trailers produced in Turkey or imported from abroad, prior to their release or commercial circulation, taking into account the level of undesirable behaviors such as sexuality, nudity, violence, horror, drug use and offensive language. The Board also considers whether the movies and trailers comply with public order, public morality, human dignity, and constitutional principles, as well as whether they are appropriate for the mental health of minors.
In Article 10(2) of the Regulation, the Ministry prohibits the broadcast of motion picture movies evaluated and classified within the scope of the Regulation for commercial purposes for five months from the date of theatrical release on paid platforms such as cable, satellite, terrestrial and streaming, and for six months on other free platforms.
Motion picture movies evaluated and classified by the Board, must exhibit the mandatory symbols and phrases on all kinds of promotional and display materials clearly and legibly. Trailers screened before the movie or during intermissions must also exhibit the symbols and phrases determined for the main movie being screened.
The Regulation also includes rules regarding motion picture movies that the Ministry has not evaluated and classified. Festivals, previews, and other similar cultural and artistic events may screen such movies, provided that they display the “18+” sign. On the other hand, movies evaluated and classified by the Ministry must display the mandatory symbols and phrases when screened at festivals.
Article 14 of the Regulation obliges movie theater operators to transmit certain information to the Ministry. Therefore, they must keep pertinent hardware and software functioning in their systems to be able to transmit the necessary information accurately on the Ministry’s demand. If an audit discovers that the required hardware and software are not functional, the Ministry will grant a period of 60 days to make up the deficiencies.
The Regulation states that advertisements screened before a movie starts can have a maximum duration of 10 minutes while the general duration for trailers is determined as a minimum of three and a maximum of five minutes. These time limits exclude public service announcements and social responsibility projects. In addition, intermissions cannot exceed 15 minutes.
The Ministry prohibits movie theater operators or any other natural and legal persons from engaging in movie ticket subscriptions, promotions, campaigns, and wholesale activities, excluding discounted ticket pricing. It is important to note here that this rule does not apply to sales within the scope of film festivals. Moreover, the Ministry does not consider membership schemes that do not affect the ticket price and do not provide free entry to movies to be subscriptions.
Before the amendment, the Regulation stated that movie tickets sold to student groups studying at educational institutions affiliated to the Ministry of National Education would not fall within the scope of the above-mentioned wholesale, campaign and promotion bans, provided that the producer or distributor of the relevant movie provided written approval. Following the amendment on 20 October 2021, the wholesale ban excludes collective tickets purchased by all state institutions and organizations and public legal entities as well as those by educational institutions affiliated to the Ministry of National Education.
The Regulation also prohibits offering certain products or services along with a movie ticket or offering a movie ticket that is conditional on the purchase of other products or services. This rule applies to all kinds of motion picture movies including those screened during cultural events and festivals.
The Regulation also establishes Audit Commissions to examine the issues it specifies. Audit Commissions can impose administrative fines of between TRY 20,000 and TRY 50,000 on persons found not to comply with the rules specified in the Regulation during audits.
The Regulation introduces a minor amendment concerning the exception to the collective ticket sales ban. Accordingly, state institutions and organizations and public legal entities, as well as educational institutions affiliated to the Ministry of National Education no longer fall within the scope of the wholesale ban.
 The Regulation Amending the Regulation on Procedures and Principles for the Evaluation and Classification of Motion Picture Movies published in the Official Gazette dated 20 October 2021 and numbered 31634, https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2021/10/20211020-1.htm
 The Regulation on Procedures and Principles for the Evaluation and Classification of Motion Picture Movies published in the Official Gazette dated 22 October 2019 and numbered 30926, https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/mevzuat?MevzuatNo=33906&MevzuatTur=7&MevzuatTertip=5
 The Regulation on Procedures and Principles for the Evaluation and Classification of Motion Picture Movies published in the Official Gazette dated 18 February 2005 and numbered 25731, https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2005/02/20050218-5.htm