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Life is unfair, but remember: not always to your disadvantage.  (John F. Kennedy)

Solutions to disputes

According to Article 138 of the Constitution, Turkish jurisdiction is independent and is subject to no instructions whatsoever. At the same time, the Turkish courts are exclusively responsible for the assertion and enforcement of claims. The Turkish judicial system is made up of two instances in all criminal and civil cases: Trial court and appeal on questions of law (temyiz) to the high court (Yargıtay).An appeal on questions of fact is only possible in administrative jurisdiction.

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Civil jurisdiction

In the course of the reforms for the entry into the European Union, the regional courts (Bölge Adliye Mahkemeleri) were introduced as an instance for appeals on questions of fact (İstinaf Mahkemesi), but are yet to be implemented. Turkish civil jurisdiction comprises the following courts:

  • Civil court of peace (Sulh Hukuk Mahkemesi): these courts are staffed by single judges trying civil matters with lower dispute values.
  • Civil chamber (Asliye Hukuk Mahkemesi): These courts are staffed with single judges trying civil matters with higher values in dispute.
  • Commercial chamber (Asliye Ticaret Mahkemesi): These courts are staffed with three judges trying commercial matters.
  • Labour courts (İş Mahkemeleri): They correspond to the German labour courts.
  • Arbitral tribunals: In addition to the regular state courts, Turkish law also allows the use of arbitral tribunals in order to solve disputes.

International agreements and arbitration

Turkey is a member of the New York Convention of 10 June 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and of the Geneva Convention on International Commercial Arbitration.


The law regulating foreign direct investments also provides for dispute resolution by arbitration. Provided that the parties fulfil the statutory prerequisites and agree on arbitration as the applicable way of dispute resolution when concluding the contract, it is possible to agree on arbitration under exclusion of the regular state courts, even with regard to licensing conditions and licensing contracts with public authorities. This option is only available for foreign companies or for domestic companies with foreign capital.

Preliminary protective measures

Payment order proceedings and execution procedures

The chances of success of the collection of a claim in Turkey can be forecast using the standards applicable in Germany. In Turkey, the execution authorities enforce the legally binding executory titles. Turkish execution proceedings provide for the seizure of claims, including the seizure of bank accounts, also in the form of seizure of personal property, for the seizure of real estate, seizure of beneficial interest, and of shares or co-ownership rights in businesses. Exploitation is by means of compulsory auction and compulsory sales.

Turkish law also provides for preliminary protective measures while a legally binding title is not yet available, for instance interim injunctions, safeguarding arrest in rem and arrest in rem. These instruments are effectively used in practice.

Payment order proceedings (icra takibi) can be carried out prior to the court proceedings. Should the one-week deadline for the filing of objections be failed to be observed, the title will irrevocably become legally binding.
Deadlines set in Turkey - which often are comparably short - should be given special attention, even with little knowledge of the language and lack of experience. On the other hand, a debtor filing an objection against a justified claim faces the risk that payment of damages amounting to 40% of the claim may be ordered during the subsequent court proceedings, on the grounds of the filing of an unjustified objection (icra inkar tazminatı).

Speedy recognition of German court decisions

Liquidity checks

If business transactions are entered into without security, it is recommended to conduct sufficient research on the contracting partner's liquidity and reputation prior to concluding the contract. The additional costs incurred will minimise the risks and are significantly lower than the costs associated with a subsequent enforcement. German court decisions can be quickly recognised and declared to be enforceable in Turkey on the basis of the Turkish Civil Procedure Code.
Enforcement orders are exempt from this.

Compromise settlements less common than in German practice

Compromise settlements

During court proceedings, the conclusion of settlements is rare in comparison with German practice. The reasons for this are manifold. According to Turkish perception, a judge making a forecast regarding the anticipated outcome of the proceedings at an early stage in order to present a proposal to the parties for a mutual agreement, would be considered to be biased (!). Unfortunately, out-of-court settlements by lawyers have been declared by the Turkish constitutional court to not be in compliance with the Constitution, as the sovereign power regarding the solution of disputes is in the hands of the state.

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