Enforceability of a foreign award in Turkey requires a recognition lawsuit to be filed before the Turkish courts. The Code on International Private and Procedure Law (number 5718) (the “Law”) explicitly regulates the terms and conditions in this respect[1].

During a recognition lawsuit, Turkish courts cannot go into the merits of the dispute; they can only scrutinize whether the statutory pre-conditions described below have been fulfilled during the enforcement proceedings abroad.

Enforcement procedures of foreign judgments in Turkey

In order to recognize a foreign award in Turkey,

  • Said court award must be final and binding as per the legislation in the country where they are adopted. Accordingly, the following are required:
  1. An official document from the authorities of the foreign state officially confirming[2] the court award as definitive, as well as a certified translation thereof, and
  2. the original copy of the court award duly upheld by the authorities of the foreign state or a copy of the award certified by that organ of jurisdiction, and a certified translation thereof are required to be submitted to the Court.
  • Existence of an agreement, between Turkey and the country where the award was granted, adopted on a reciprocal basis, or a provision which allows recognition of a Turkish award in that jurisdiction or a de facto practice is required.
  • The foreign award must have been adopted by a competent court on matters not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Turkish courts (such as the matters regarding the disposal rights of real property).The foreign award should not be explicitly contrary to public order. Under the Law, there is no specific definition of public order; however the fundamental rights and liberties specified under the Turkish Constititution and the right to a fair trial are all deemed as circumstances to be considered as public order under court precedents.
  • During the court process in the foreign jurisdiction, the rights of defence rules must have been followed: The person against whom the enforcement is sought must have been duly summoned to the court  and properly represented, and no decision should have been made in the person’s absence,  in contravention to the laws of that jurisdiction.
  • In principle, foreign plaintiffs filing lawsuits before Turkish courts should deposit a security, the amount of which is at the discretion of the court, in order to secure the trial costs and the damages that may be incurred by the defendant. However bilateral and multilateral conventions should be assessed for exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

In practice, recognition lawsuits are likely to last for a period between a year and a half to two years. Turkish courts may adopt a decision partially or fully or dismiss the request for enforcement. Once the recognition award has been adopted, the foreign award is treated as if it were a court award from Turkish courts.