The Russian Internet provider Yandex is apparently withdrawing from Turkey. Like the Turkish business site Marketing Türkiye reported, the digital giant, considered Russia’s answer to Google, will close its Istanbul office. An official confirmation from Yandex is still pending. However, Turkish media reported that the company will close its office on October 1, lay off employees and conduct business in Turkey from Russia.
The Russian company is likely to react to the new Turkish digital legislation, which will come into force in the fall and will force the providers of digital services to control the use of Internet platforms much more closely than before. According to the new law, platforms that have more than a million users in the country must register with their own branch. You are therefore subject to Turkish law and are liable. At the same time, they should be forced to register the identities of their users. In addition, platform operators should be forced to delete postings classified as untrue or offensive.
The Russian-Dutch company Yandex is the leader in Russia thanks to its search engine with a market share of more than 60 percent. Similar to Google, numerous additional services such as email, cloud, navigation, translation, a Yandex browser and Internet advertising are offered. Yandex is now the fifth largest search engine worldwide. In Turkey it has a market share of 12.8 percent; Google remains the market leader there with 84 percent. Yandex was primarily active in e-commerce in Turkey and is known for its translation service.
In Turkey, social media – especially Twitter – play an enormous role as a platform for all types of opposition. As in other countries, the public is manipulated from all sides by trolls and fake news. Critics see the law as an attempt by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to finally strangle the freedom of expression that has been severely restricted since the attempted coup in 2016. Young Turks in particular use social media to obtain information almost exclusively via the Internet. Turkey ranks sixth in the world for Twitter usage; the platform has 400 million user accounts in the country.