As producers, format distributors, and content creators venture into new markets, Turkey has emerged as a promising destination for licensing opportunities. With its thriving media industry and diverse audience, Turkey presents exciting prospects for content buyers and distributors. However, successfully navigating the licensing landscape in this dynamic market requires a deep understanding of the key issues and considerations that can impact collaborations. In this article, we delve into the nuances of licensing contracts in Turkey, shedding light on potential challenges and providing practical guidance for content professionals.

1. Cultural Considerations

Understanding the cultural and regulatory landscape of Turkey is essential when entering into licensing agreements. Turkey boasts a rich cultural heritage and a unique media landscape, with a strong emphasis on local content and storytelling. Foreign content buyers and distributors should take into account the cultural preferences and sensitivities of their target audiences when considering licensing deals. For instance, when contemplating the acquisition of Turkish content for distribution in other parts of the world, it is important to consider Turkey’s traditional household values, portrayal of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, and gradual progression in romantic storylines. By acknowledging these aspects of Turkish media content, you can better appeal to your target audience.

On the other hand, if you plan to create content in Turkey, the expectations of Turkish viewers differ. Turkish audiences seek high-quality content with complex storylines that surpass the
formulaic narratives commonly found on television. Netflix, for example, struggled to meet Turkish viewers’ desire for such local content until the release of Ethos in 2020. Ethos adopted a realistic approach in depicting the societal divisions in Turkey and highlighted that Turkish audiences are not opposed to local content per se but rather to the formulaic, stereotypical, and mystical narratives presented in shows like The Protector and The Gift. They are instead open to supporting local productions that take a more critical stance on local issues.[1] Adapting content to resonate with the local market significantly enhances the chances of success.2. Regulatory Considerations

To create or distribute content in Turkey, familiarize yourself with the regulatory framework governing the media industry. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (“RTÜK”) is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing broadcasting activities. Compliance with RTÜK regulations and guidelines, including content restrictions and advertising rules, is crucial to ensure a smooth licensing process.
In 2020, Netflix faced an unexpected hurdle when it invested in a local production titled “If Only” and intended to distribute it. The project was abruptly canceled just before filming began due to an “informal” warning from RTÜK. Ece Yörenç, the showrunner and screenwriter, revealed that they were pressured to remove a gay character from the storyline in order to obtain shooting permission from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which is mandatory for foreign productions. Despite the crew’s compliance with this request, Netflix ultimately decided to cancel the show following a private meeting with RTÜK.[2] It is therefore crucial to comply with the legal provisions determined by RTÜK. According to Article 16 of the Regulation on the Presentation of Radio,
Television, and On-Demand Broadcasts through the Internet (“the Regulation”), media service providers granted licenses through the internet must remove any optional broadcasting services that are deemed unsuitable by the Supreme Council within the scope of Law No. 6112 on the Establishment and Broadcasting Services of Radios and Televisions (“Law No. 6112”). They are also required to fulfill the obligations stipulated in Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Internet Broadcasting and Combating Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts (“Law No. 5651”), Law No. 6112, the Regulation, other relevant legislation, and international treaties to which Turkey is a party.

Similarly, Article 17 of the Regulation mandates that internet broadcasting platform operators fulfill the obligations stipulated in Law No. 5651, Law No. 6112, the Regulation, the Administrative and Financial Conditions Regulation, other relevant legislation, and international treaties to which Turkey is a party.

3. Contractual Considerations

When entering into a licensing agreement, carefully consider the contractual specifics. To ensure compliance with Turkish law, the following crucial elements should be taken into account when formulating contracts:

a. Rights and Territories: Clearly define the scope of the license by specifying the rights granted and the territories covered. Carefully consider whether the license is exclusive or non-exclusive and ensure it aligns with your business objectives. It is imperative to collaborate with a lawyer well-versed in the intricacies of the Turkish legal framework throughout this process. Failure to transfer rights in strict accordance with the provisions stipulated by the law may result in inadvertently sharing copyrights with other individuals.

b. Duration and Renewal: Determine the duration of the license and any provisions for renewal or extension. Consider market trends and the potential for long-term success when negotiating renewal terms.

c. Financial Terms: Negotiate fair and mutually beneficial financial terms, including licensing fees, revenue sharing models, and payment schedules. Familiarize yourself with local industry practices and seek professional advice to ensure a transparent and equitable agreement.

d. Intellectual Property Protection: Safeguard your intellectual property by including robust provisions for copyright protection, infringement remedies, and dispute resolution mechanisms. It is advisable to consult legal experts experienced in Turkish copyright law to ensure comprehensive protection.

4. Local Partnerships and Expertise

Establishing strong local partnerships can significantly enhance your prospects in the Turkish market. Collaborating with experienced Turkish content distributors, production companies, or agents can provide invaluable insights into the local industry landscape, audience preferences, and distribution channels. These partnerships can open doors to new opportunities, facilitate market entry, and help navigate the complexities of licensing contracts in Turkey.
Moreover, seeking the expertise of media licensing companies specializing in the Turkish market can be highly beneficial. These companies possess in-depth knowledge of the local industry,
established relationships with broadcasters, and a track record of successful licensing deals. Their guidance can be instrumental in identifying potential partners, negotiating favorable terms, and ensuring compliance with local regulations.

In conclusion, Turkey offers tremendous potential for content buyers and distributors seeking new licensing opportunities. By understanding the cultural and regulatory considerations, paying attention to contractual details, and forming strategic partnerships, professionals can successfully navigate the licensing landscape in Turkey and unlock the vast opportunities this vibrant market has to offer.

At MEDIT, we specialize in bridging the gap between foreign content creators & distributors and the Turkish market. Contact us today to explore how we can help you navigate licensing contracts in Turkey and maximize your success in this thriving industry.
[1] Ece Vitriner, Aslı Ildır; Turkey; March 2021; Global TV Consortium; URL access:
[2] Ece Vitriner, Aslı Ildır; Turkey; March 2021; Global TV Consortium; URL access: