Russian Internet giant leaving Turkey

Russian tech giant Yandex, established to rival various Google services, has decided to shut down its Turkey offices, industry news magazine Marketing Türkiye reported on Friday.

Yandex has e-commerce, navigation, mobile applications and marketing operations in Turkey, which will continue to operate from the company’s Russia headquarters, the magazine reported.

Yandex Turkey, with Turkish media mogul Aydın Doğan’s son-in-law Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ at the helm as a businessman close to the Turkish government, has remained profitable while global revenue for the has fallen in the last six months due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, it said.

The Turkish office will shut down in October, as part of Yandex’s global measures. This decision coincides with the timeline for Turkey’s new social media bill going into effect.

As of Oct. 1, all social media platforms will be required to appoint legal representatives in Turkey and open up offices to facilitate the Turkish government’s demands to remove content. Noncompliant companies will face fines up to $1.5 million, blocked advertisements, and bandwidth throttling up to 90 percent.

In July, after the law passed, all major players in the industry accepted Turkey’s terms, with the exception of Twitter, which did not respond at the time, a government official said at the time.

Google has had offices in Turkey since 2006, but the office had only been handling advertising and marketing. The company announced in August that it would implement several structural changes for 2021, but the changes were “not related to the social media regulations.”