Law No. 4982 of October 9, 2003, on Access to Information came into effect on April 24, 2004. Under this law, citizens, legal persons, non-citizens and foreign corporations have a right of access to information. However, many public records are not included in the scope of this law, with exceptions for state secrets (confidential information), intelligence, items deemed in the national interest, the privacy of individual life and the privacy of communication. Almost all public offices have a unit to deal with information requests, which can be made in person or electronically. The number of applications made within the scope of Law No. 4982 has increased gradually, but stabilized during last three years. According to the Annual Report 2009 on Access to Information, a total of 1,091,589 applications were received by public institutions, including the presidency, ministries and municipalities. Of these, 947,637 resulted in the requested information being provided, and 84,723 were rejected on various grounds. Appeals can be made to a board of review that consists of nine senior public servants with some legal background. The board deals with national security and state economic interest issues. As with other administrative decisions, appeals can subsequently be made to the administrative court. Recently the 11th Administrative Court of Ankara annulled a decision of the board in favor of the applicant (the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers).
In short, despite the legal regulation, the use of the right of access to information is not widespread, due mainly to the citizens’ lack of information on the subject, restrictions on the right itself, and ineffective appeal mechanisms.
Freedom of Information Around the World 2006, A Global Survey of Access to Government Information Laws, http://www.freedominfo.org/wp-conte nt/uploads/documents/global_survey2 006.pdf (accessed July 26, 2010).