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Whistleblowing and self-reporting

Whistleblowing

Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?

Turkish law does not provide statutory protection to whistleblowers or require companies to have whistleblower procedures. When an employee reports suspicious conduct within a company, the company’s response will be evaluated under the general principles of employment law. As such, if an employee reports irregularity, his or her employment agreement should not be terminated on that ground. Without a valid reason for termination, the employee may initiate a re-employment lawsuit within a month of the termination date. In order to prevent, deter and mitigate any possible retaliation regarding whistleblowers, companies are advised to regulate these issues internally.

Self-reporting

Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?

As legal persons cannot be held criminally liable under Turkish law, leniency for bribery is not regulated for legal persons. Instead, real persons can benefit from leniency if someone who has accepted a bribe informs the competent authorities of this fact before the relevant authority discovers it. Leniency is also shown to real persons who inform the relevant authorities of previously undetected acts of bribery, including their:

  • agreement to accept a bribe;
  • bribing of a public official or agreement with a public official regarding a bribe; or
  • complicity in a bribery-related crime.

However, leniency from prosecution is not applicable to persons who bribe foreign public officials.

There are no laws, precedents or guidelines regarding how authorities should treat the self-reporting and cooperation of legal persons during a criminal or administrative investigation. That said, companies are advised to cooperate with authorities during investigations to the extent that they do not exceed the authority granted to them by law.

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