BWI decision to customize Istanbulkart travel pass under discussion


The president of the Association of Turkish Lawyers has argued that it is illegal to require travelers to enter their personal details in order to obtain an Istanbulkart, the public transport card used to move around the metropolis of ‘Istanbul, stressing that this decision is unconstitutional.

Following Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (IBB) decision to customize its Istanbulkarts, the head of the association, Ahmet Yılmaz, said that any decision restricting freedom of movement without a legal basis is unfair interference. Yılmaz pointed out that the card is only for travel and that personal information was not required in the past, stressing that it should be accessible to all users.

Sharing his views on the matter, Yılmaz said, “Whether you travel within the country or from abroad, many use Istanbulkart. This is the logical result of people’s fundamental right to use these services and to travel freely. Article 23 of the Constitution guarantees this right. forms of limitations and challenges are unwarranted intrusions on the right to free travel, which is expressly protected by the Constitution. »

Meanwhile, Merve Bayram, a data protection lawyer working for the Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK), said it would be illegal to force users to enter personal information in order to use the transport ticket. Bayram believes that users of personalized Istanbulkarts should be informed about how their personal data is processed and given the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out. It is illegal to use travelers’ personal data if there is no way to personalize it or use it anonymously, Bayram said, adding that it would be a violation of the constitutional right to move freely.

In addition to filing a complaint with KVKK’s board, Bayram said people whose personal data is improperly processed can also file a lawsuit for violation of their rights.

“Those who do not wish to reveal their personal data should have another card,” she suggested.

Lawyer Siyar Alpaslan, meanwhile, said the legality of personalized cards is under debate.

Alpaslan said the app violates the law by requiring users to consent to the collection and processing of their data for purposes unrelated to transportation, even if they do not intend to use the card only for transportation since it can be used in a number of stores. and other locations. Additionally, a different card will need to be made available to residents who wish to use public transport but do not want the card to be used as payment or to share their personal information.

Lawyer Murat Türkyilmaz, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) BWI Assembly Group, also said BWI has created an app that requires all anonymous Istanbulkarts to be personalized. by December 31, 2022.

Türkyilmaz said: “According to Article 23 of our Constitution, this application restricts the freedom of movement. The claim that BWI implemented this program to show compassion and deny free transportation to foreign nationals during holidays is a blatant lie. private information with them when they travel. You are not allowed to use Istanbulkart as a tool for your business operations.

In order to use Istanbulkart payment tool features, users need to provide their personal information. However, not all regular users of the public transport system can be subject to this requirement, according to Türkyilmaz, who also claimed that IBB had committed a crime and that they would investigate the matter. Türkyilmaz said: “It is written that people who do not switch to a personalized card according to this rule will continue to use an anonymous card. This regulation also conflicts with the law passed in the IBB Assembly in 2020. Without submitting proposed change to the BWI Assembly, such by-laws cannot be passed.”

“The wishes of the assembly are simply ignored by this candidacy. We will continue to use legal channels and appropriate objections for the benefit of the citizens of Istanbul.”

IBB said that users’ Istanbulkarts should be personalized by December 31, 2022, according to Nihat Narin, general manager of BELBIM AS (BELBİM Electronic Money and Payment Services Inc.), a subsidiary of IBB.

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