Operations for the allocation of “.tr” domain names in Turkey have been managed by the Middle East Technical University (“METU“) since 1991, through the platform called Nic.tr. Pursuant to Article 35 of the Electronic Communication Law No. 5809, the Ministry of Communication and Substructure decided that the management and allocation of “.tr” domain names will be undertaken by the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (“ITCA“).
Even though it was announced that all operations regarding “.tr” domain names will be managed through the platform called “.tr Network Information System” (“TRABIS“) established within the scope of the Internet Domain Names Regulation (“Regulation“) published by the ITCA in 2010, which regulates the procedures and principles regarding “.tr” domain names, the enforcement of the Regulation was postponed until TRABIS becomes operational. Following the agreement dated December 2018, in which METU transferred all of its authority regarding the management and allocation of “.tr” domain names to ITCA, the platform named Nic.tr would be shut down in August 2020 and TRABIS would start operating, but the transition was not completed. You may reach out to our legal alert about the aforementioned process here.
Nic.tr announced that management of “.tr” domain names will be completely transferred to the ITCA, presumably in January 2022. Nic.tr emphasized that with the completion of the aforementioned transfer in January 2022, vital changes will take place in operations regarding domain names. You may reach the legislation regarding the said changes and the new mechanism here.
What are the main radical changes that will take place in the management of “.tr” domain names with the beginning of the TRABIS period?
- In accordance with the Regulation, the Domain Registrar (“DR“) will act as an intermediary in the execution of operations related to domain names such as application, renewal and cancellation. DR will carry out the necessary actions through TRABIS, following requests such as domain name applications or renewal requests.
- In domain name allocations without ownership proof, the “first come, first served” principle will be practiced and in the determination of “first comer,” the record when the domain name application reaches TRABIS will be taken into account. The Regulation defines ownership proved domain name allocations as allocations made subsequent to the applicant’s submission of the relevant information and/or documents to DR and the delivery of this information and/or documents to TRABIS.
- In accordance with the Provisional Article 1 of the Internet Domain Names Communiqué (“Communiqué“), the sub-domains “.com.tr”, “.net.tr” and “.org.tr,” which were allocated with ownership proof prior to activation of TRABIS, may be put up for auction if deemed appropriate by the ITCA and within the framework of the procedures and principles determined by the Information Technologies and Communication Board, before starting to allocate them as undocumented after TRABIS goes into operation. In the event that the auction method is not implemented, these domain names will be allocated within the framework of the “first come, first served” principle once TRABIS becomes operational.
- If the domain name owner wishes to waive a domain name, the domain name owner will be required to fill in the form on the DR’s website completely and correctly, and upon request of waiver, DR will complete the necessary procedures via TRABIS.
- One of the most striking changes brought by the Regulation is the sales and transfer of domain names, which was not possible before. According to the Regulation, all operations regarding the cancellation, sales and transfer of domain names will be completed by DR through TRABIS. Article 13 of the Regulation on the sale and transfer of domain names via TRABIS will enter into force three years after TRABIS becomes operational, whereas sales and transfer of domain names during the transition period from Nic.tr to TRABIS is separately regulated in the Provisional Article 2 of the Regulation and second paragraph of Article 2 of the Communiqué. Pursuant to the relevant article, domain names cannot be sold for a period of three years from the effective date of the article, but may be transferred to others in the following cases:
- In cases such as death, absence or presumption of absence of real persons, the domain name may be transferred to the legal heirs.
- Legal entities may transfer their domain name due to reasons such as merger or acquisition.
- Real and/or legal persons holding a trademark and/or patent may also transfer the domain names of the trademark and/or patent they own, if they transfer their rights arising from this trademark and/or patent.
- Real and/or legal persons who have registered intellectual or artistic works may also transfer their domain names related to their intellectual or artistic works, if they transfer their rights arising from these intellectual or artistic works.
- The domain names that were allocated as of the effective date of the Regulation, allocated within the period from this date until the start of operation of TRABIS, and allocated until an DR starts operating in the minimum basis, will continue to be used until the end of the allocation period. These domain name owners will be able to choose one of the DRs on the ITCA’s website after TRABIS starts operating in order to carry out operations regarding the domain name they own, before or after the end of the allocation period of the relevant domain name. Operations regarding domain names that individuals own will be completed through TRABIS until at least one DR becomes operational.
- Pursuant to the Provisional Article 2 of the Communiqué, internet domain name owners who do not have any DR as of the date TRABIS started operating will select an DR and transfer the relevant internet domain name via TRABIS. The internet domain name that has not been transferred will remain in use until the end of the allocation period, but the operations that need to be carried out through an DR will not be possible.
- The opportunity of applying to the alternative dispute resolution mechanism specified in the Sixth Section of the Regulation is not available for domain names that were allocated before TRABIS becomes operational, but that it is available for those who are renewed after TRABIS becomes operational. Likewise, in accordance with the Communiqué on Internet Domain Names Dispute Resolution Mechanism, Dispute Resolution Service Providers, which refer to universities, public professional organizations or international organizations that carry out dispute resolution process regarding internet domain names through arbitrators or arbitration committees, will start to operate as of the date TRABIS becomes operational and will inform the ITCA about the situation in writing.
- The Communiqué emphasizes that in any dispute regarding an internet domain name, the time record registered in the TRABIS system will be taken as the basis.
- In accordance with the Regulation, the current operation carried out on Nic.tr will continue until TRABIS becomes operational. Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the transition from Nic.tr to TRABIS are available on Nic.tr’s website.
The ITCA’s authorization for domain name management and allocation will bring about fundamental changes that make the sale and transfer of “.tr” domain names possible. In order for the transition process to be followed correctly and to prevent any loss of rights, it is of great importance that the domain name holders carefully follow the announcements that Nic.tr will make through its website, social media accounts and emails.