Drones are getting more and more popular. People use them to take amazing aerial photos and videos. They have also been used for many other purposes like surveying land, finding criminals, monitoring wildlife, inspecting buildings, intelligence gathering and surveillance to border management. Individuals or businesses interested in using drones, drone manufacturers, and service businesses utilizing drones come into contact with many legal issues. As the popularity and usage of drones continue to grow, the legal landscape surrounding them has become more complex, requiring the expertise of lawyers who understand the legal issues and challenges associated with drone operations.
The good news is that flying a drone is completely legal in Turkey. However, we recommend you should be aware of all the rules and regulations to fly it. Turkey’s National Aviation Authority allows drone flying if you abide by the laws. If you are traveling to Turkey anytime soon, it is best to know about updated regulations. It will help you save yourself from trouble while you can enjoy flying a drone as well.
A drone is a remote-controlled aircraft that doesn’t have a pilot on-board. Drones range from small children’s toys to large military systems. This includes remote-controlled model planes and helicopters. A wide range of domestic and commercial drones are available, varying in size, speed, range and price, and often including a camera with the ability to provide a live feed to the controller. Nowadays, drones are used in a wide variety of fields such as the photography and cinema sector, health sector, shipping, firefighting, observation of natural life, inspections of oil and gas leaks, and agricultural and farming applications.
As drones have become more popular and widely used across various industries, regulatory bodies and governments have implemented specific laws and regulations to address the safe and responsible operation of drones.
Legal Status and Conditions of Use of Drones
In Turkey, the legal status and conditions of use of drones are regulated by the Civil Aviation Act and regulations issued by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (GDCA). The GDCA, with the Instruction (Talimat) on UAV Systems published on 22 February 2016, included the use of drones within the scope of civil aviation and determined the flight permits, authorizations, and restrictions.
There are different rules for different types (categories) of drone flight. The categories depend mainly on the weight of the drone, where you intend to fly, and how close you will be to people and built-up areas (towns and cities). If you fly or own a drone, it’s your responsibility to make sure all flights are safe and legal.
Individuals or businesses interested in using drones, drone manufacturers, and service businesses utilizing drones come into contact with many legal issues. As the popularity and usage of drones continue to grow, the legal landscape surrounding them has become more complex, requiring the expertise of lawyers who understand the legal issues and challenges associated with drone operations. As drones are still quite new, the law around their use is constantly evolving so it is a good idea to ensure that you are fully up-to-date with the latest changes.
Turkey aviation includes commercial airliners, logistics and shipping aircraft, private aircraft and emergency responders. Forward-thinking companies should be thinking – right now – about a number of considerations and steps to take to integrate drones into this airspace.
Planning a trip to Turkey with a Drone
If you are planning a trip to Turkey and you are thinking of carrying your drone with you to take aerial shots of the incredible sights there, that might sound like a good idea. But first, you want to find out if it’s legal to bring your drone to Turkey.
You can bring a drone with you to Turkey, but if you are a foreign national and your drone weighs over 500 g, you will first need to apply for technical confirmation from the Turkish SHGM to avoid having it confiscated at customs. Drones weighing less than 500 g can be brought in without this.
When it comes to bringing and flying a drone in Turkey, there are some rules that you still need to consider and some things that you need to know so that you won’t come in blind. Consult one of our aviation lawyers to find out more about the things that you have to keep in mind and to know before you attempt to bring a drone with you on your next vacation to Turkey.
There are rules and regulations that you need to be aware of and follow when you are bringing and flying your drone in Turkey. There are limits to what you can do with your drone, and you need to know what those limits are before you take your drone to Turkey.
Whether you’re a public safety drone operator, certificated remote pilot, model aircraft flyer, drone racer, or Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operator, you’re in the right place to learn about integrating these new entrants into Turkish national airspace system.
Whether you are flying for fun or work, get the rules, resources, and tools, to help you fly safely. All drone pilots, new or experienced, benefit from rules and safety tips to help them fly safe. More importantly, drone safety is the law. Find relevant resources below according to how you use your drone.
You should never fly your drone over people or large crowds in Turkey. That means that you should only fly it when both the sky and the area under the drone are completely open and free.
It is only allowed to fly drones during the daylight hours and when the weather conditions are right for flying. As such, you won’t be able to fly your drone during the night or when the weather isn’t good enough for your drone.
You are not allowed to fly your drone in areas that are sensitive in terms of security and safety. These include government offices and military facilities. It is completely prohibited for you to use your drone’s camera when you are in these areas.
Turkey has implemented specific regulations for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones. The regulatory framework is overseen by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (SHGM), which is responsible for ensuring safe and responsible drone operations in the country. Before commencing drone operations, it is often necessary that you obtain a pilot certificate, register your drone, follow proper safety protocols and both identify and comply with legal requirements for conducting specific drone operations.
Personal drones & commercial drones
In Turkey, drones are categorized based on their weight and purpose of use. The regulations distinguish between recreational and commercial drone operations. Recreational drones are typically used for personal purposes, while commercial drones are used for activities such as aerial photography, videography, surveying, or delivery services.
Drones cannot weigh more than 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) for private/personal flights. Drones that weigh between 500 grams and 4 kilograms must be registered with the SHGM and marked with their registration number before flying.
Key regulations and requirements for drone operators in Turkey include:
All drones weighing over 500 grams must be registered with the SHGM. The registration process involves providing information about the drone and its owner. Drones that weigh below 500 grams do not require a licence or registration; these drones can be flown by simply following applicable safety requirements.
With advances in computer vision and flight software, piloting a drone has never been easier. But on the flip side, the laws regarding using your drone remain a little complex. If you want to fly a drone in Turkey, you’ll need to navigate Turkish regulations.
All drone pilots who wish to fly a drone weighing more than 500 grams must register with the Turkish government department, the SHGM, prior to flying. Pilots of drones weighing between 500 grams and 4 kilograms must get their drone pilot certificate.
For commercial drone operations, operators must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the SHGM. This certification requires passing a written exam and meeting certain criteria.
There are specific restrictions on where drones can be flown in Turkey. For example, drones are prohibited from flying near airports, military zones, and government buildings. There may also be restrictions on flying in densely populated areas or public events.
Certain areas are designated as no-fly zones for drones, such as airports, military facilities, and strategic locations. Operators must adhere to these restrictions and avoid flying in these prohibited areas.
Altitude and Distance Limits
There are altitude and distance limits for drone operations in Turkey. Drones are generally required to fly below 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level and within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the operator.
Privacy and Data Protection
Drone operators must respect privacy the privacy of other people when they are flying their drone in Turkey. Recording or capturing images of individuals without their consent may be subject to legal restrictions.
Illegal use of drone
Should the owner feel disturbed by a drone crossing in his property, he can demand that the flight be terminated immediately. Turkish law allows him to defend himself with force, which in some cases, applies to unauthorized drones. If damage to property or other rights should occur, the owner can claim damages. His rights are protected by the law for the protection of business secrets, the law of administrative offenses, and criminal law. The pilot is sanctioned by these laws in case of illegal use of the drone. Anyone who flies a drone without the required permission is committing an administrative offense and may face a fine. Anyone who obtains a trade secret in an unauthorized manner can be sanctioned with a prison sentence. Also, the spying of data, the interception of data, and the disclosure of data to third parties are punishable by law.
If are charged with any criminal offense related to the use of a drone, including an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Bicak Law Firm. We can help you fight allegations of illegally using a drone for surveillance or other prohibited purposes.
Flying and operating drones in Europe
Flying and operating drones in Europe is subject to European Union Regulation 2019/947. The Regulation allows registered operators and pilots to fly their drones across the EU. You must register as a drone operator if your drone weighs over 250 grams or if it has a camera or sensor. Registration as an operator costs €30 and is valid for two years. Register here now.
Detailed and updated information
Drones, which have been used in various fields for some time, will be used much more actively and commonly in the future. Various regulations have been made and will continue to be made in Turkish Law regarding drones, which may cause loss of life and property if they are produced and used in an uncontrolled manner. In any case, in order to avoid any damage and liability and the use of the relevant product in accordance with the specifications and accordingly in compliance with the law, it is essential to comply with these regulations at all stages from the production of drones to their use by the end consumer.
It is important to note that the regulations and requirements for drone operations in Turkey may be subject to change. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with the most current regulations. Our legal experts specialized on drone law in Turkey can provide detailed and updated information on the topic. If you would like to discuss any of the issues mentioned above, feel free to contact one of our specialist aviation and drone lawyers.