Background

Frequency of use

How common is commercial litigation as a method of resolving high-value, complex disputes?

Turkey is a bridge and important link between Europe and Asia because of its position on the Bosporus. Accordingly, a large number of disputes concerning multiple parties from various jurisdictions and a wide range of legal areas, including cross-border investments, international business finance transactions, investigations and disputes, are seen in the Turkish courts. Due to its expanding economy and trade actors from Middle Eastern, Asian and European countries being active in the jurisdiction, complex commercial litigation is pretty common in Turkey.

Litigation market

Please describe the culture and ‘market’ for litigation. Do international parties regularly participate in disputes in the court system in your jurisdiction, or do the disputes typically tend to be regional?

As a result of the low costs involved in the litigation process, Turkey has a litigious culture generally. However, recent legislative developments have brought about alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as a mandatory mediation process. Because of Turkey’s geographic position, commercial relations are connected internationally, from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. The number of complex commercial cases is therefore increasing, and the market involves various countries.

Legal framework

What is the legal framework governing commercial litigation? Is your jurisdiction subject to civil code or common law? What practical implications does this have?

Turkey is a civil law jurisdiction. As a result, the legal framework for determining the governance of commercial matters is entirely codified. The Turkish Commercial Code (No. 6102: TCC) regulates the main framework for commercial litigation, while the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure (No. 6100: TCCP) regulates the rules of procedure for the litigation process. Finally, the International Private and Civil Procedure Law (No. 5718: IPCPL) regulates the international aspects of commercial matters where one or more of the parties has a foreign element.

Bringing a claim - initial considerations

Key issues to consider

What key issues should a party consider before bringing a claim?

Before bringing a claim, claimants need to conduct a cost/benefit analysis and asses their prospects of success. An evaluation of the chances of success should consider whether a claim is based upon sufficient evidence or not. Written evidence, commercial books and records, witness statements and technical expert evaluations are all important elements of the evidence in commercial litigation. Pursuant to the TCC, it is obligatory for all transactions between Turkish companies to be recorded in their official corporate books. The courts accept commercial books as sufficient evidence only if those books have been kept in full in accordance with the Turkish legislation, and a corporation’s opening and closing approvals have been notarised officially.

Costs should also be considered: these will cover court fees, expenses and contingency fees, as well as a reimbursement obligation in the event of the party losing the lawsuit.

Establishing jurisdiction

How is jurisdiction established?

Jurisdiction for domestic matters lies within the scope of the TCCP. Generally, jurisdiction is established through a consideration of the defendant’s place of residence. For the determination of jurisdiction in contract matters, the place of performance of the contract is taken into consideration. Claimants have two jurisdiction options for tort claims. Jurisdiction may exist where the tortious act took place or where the harm arose, rather than being grounded in the claimant’s place of residence. Parties have the right to make an agreement on commercial matters to specify jurisdiction.

International matters are legislated under the IPCPL. According to the IPCPL, the jurisdiction of the Turkish courts for international matters is determined through the jurisdiction rules regarding domestic matters.

A jurisdiction plea has to be claimed by the respective party as a preliminary objection. The courts also consider ex officio certain jurisdiction rules in accordance with the TCCP.

Preclusion

Res judicata: is preclusion applicable, and if so how?

Res judicata is applicable in the Turkish legislation. If the same matter between the same parties is brought before the court again, parties can bring forward a plea of preclusion and request the court to decide that the dispute before the court has already been settled. As a result of the principle of ex officio examination, courts will also take preclusion into consideration. Upon the determination of preclusion through either method, the court will decide that the same dispute between the same parties has already come to a conclusion via a binding decision. Pursuant to the IPCL, the enforcement of foreign judgments in Turkey is conditioned on a reciprocal basis between Turkey and the state where the court decision is given.

Applicability of foreign laws

In what circumstances will the courts apply foreign laws to determine issues being litigated before them?

Turkish courts shall apply the rules of foreign law either where the parties decide mutually upon the application of foreign law, or where the Turkish conflict of laws rules and the governing foreign law are applicable in accordance with said rules ex officio. The court may ask the parties for their assistance in determining which foreign law shall be applied. If the determination of an applicable foreign law fails to satisfy a resolution of the dispute, the court will solve the dispute under Turkish law.

Initial steps

What initial steps should a claimant consider to ensure that any eventual judgment is satisfied? Can a defendant take steps to make themselves ‘judgment proof’?

A claimant may consider applying for a preliminary injunction in order to impose such injunction on the defendant’s assets through claiming that there is a risk of being unable to collect receivables from the defendant at the end of the proceeding. The claimant has to submit evidence before the court that shows that the defendant is in a difficult situation financially and that there is a risk that the defendant will remove its assets. Piercing of the corporate veil is an exceptional but effective way of ensuring possible claims will be satisfied. Defendants can make themselves judgment proof through a certificate of insolvency in accordance with article 143 of the Turkish Enforcement and Bankruptcy Code.

Freezing assets

When is it appropriate for a claimant to consider obtaining an order freezing a defendant’s assets? What are the preconditions and other considerations?

A claimant must demonstrate that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the claim to obtain an order to freeze a defendant’s assets. The courts take two main points into consideration: that serious damage might occur to the claimant’s rights if there is a delay, and that it will be difficult or impossible to collect receivables due to changes in the defendant’s financial situation. When the aforementioned conditions are met simultaneously, a claimant may request an order freezing a defendant’s assets from the court.

Pre-action conduct requirements

Are there requirements for pre-action conduct and what are the consequences of non-compliance?

If the subject matter of a dispute is a monetary payment or a claim for compensation, the party shall have to apply to the Mediation Office before bringing a claim before the court. The enactment of Law No. 7155 has made the mediation process mandatory for commercial litigations since 1 January 2019. If the parties fail to conclude a settlement through mediation meetings, then they have the right to bring a claim before the court.

Other interim relief

What other forms of interim relief can be sought?

It is possible to request measures such as provisional attachments or preliminary injunctions. If a defendant has no certain residence or there is reason to believe that the defendant may remove his or her assets in the hope of hiding them from a possible attachment order, or the defendant flees, the claimant can request a preliminary attachment order from the court to ensure his or her claims. Depending on the situation, the court may request a deposit from the claimant for the attachment order. For more regarding preliminary injunctions, see question 9.

Alternative dispute resolution

Does the court require or expect parties to engage in ADR at the pre-action stage or later in the case? What are the consequences of failing to engage in ADR at these stages?

Under Turkish law, ADR processes are optional. Turkey is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce, and the most common ADR method in commercial disputes that involve multiple parties from various countries is arbitration proceedings in Turkey. The courts require claimants to submit a signed mediation protocol, with mediation being mandatory prior to bringing a lawsuit. For details regarding the mediation process, see question 10.

Claims against natural persons versus corporations

Are there different considerations for claims against natural persons as opposed to corporations?

In the Turkish legal system, there are no procedural differences between bringing a claim before the court against natural persons or corporations. Differences will arise from the merits of a claim: for example, if the disputed matter is related to both parties’ business corporations, then the subject matter is deemed to be commercial, and the case will be held before the commercial courts.

Class actions

Are any of the considerations different for class actions, multi-party or group litigations?

In Turkey there are no class actions comparable to a common law country’s class actions. However, under CCP article 113, associations and legal persons can bring a class action under their own name. To bring a class action, associations and legal persons should make sure that the subject of the class action is within the scope of their statutes, and that the action is being brought to protect the interests of their members.

Third-party funding

What restrictions are there on third parties funding the costs of the litigation or agreeing to pay adverse costs?

There are no specific regulations regarding third-party funding in the Turkish legislation. Therefore, third-party funding agreements are restricted only by the general contract law regulations. There are asset management companies that are interested in being funding parties for court costs.

Contingency fee arrangements

Can lawyers act on a contingency fee basis? What options are available? What issues should be considered before entering into an arrangement of this nature?

According to the Turkish Attorneys’ Code, parties may sign contingency fee agreements. However, the agreed fees cannot be lower than the minimum amount set out in the Official Tariff for lawyers’ fees. If a lawyer follows up a pro bono case file, the Bar has to be informed about this.

The claim

Launching claims

How are claims launched? How are the written pleadings structured, and how long do they tend to be? What documents need to be appended to the pleading?

As mentioned in question 10, since a mediation process has to be pursued before bringing a commercial lawsuit, the claimant has to apply to the Mediation Office initially. After pursuing the mediation process, claims are launched by filing a lawsuit petition outlining detailed explanations of the merits of the claim. The claimant has to submit its evidence together with a mediation protocol signed by the parties and mediator that indicates a failure to reach settlement.

Written pleadings must include;

  • the name of the court;
  • the names and addresses of the parties;
  • the ID number of the claimant;
  • the names and addresses of the parties’ attorneys, if they are represented by an attorney;
  • the subject matter of the litigation and the amount of the case;
  • a detailed description of the facts;
  • evidence linked to the facts;
  • the claim’s legal basis;
  • the conclusion of the claims; and
  • the signature of the claimant (or his or her attorney if he or she is represented by one).

There are no other rules indicating the length of the written statements, which differs according to the complexity of the case.

Documents that are linked to the allegations should be submitted appended to the pleading before the court. In addition, counsel’s power of attorney, which includes the required authorisation to file a lawsuit on behalf of his or her client, must be appended to the pleading.

Serving claims on foreign parties

How are claims served on foreign parties?

Turkey is a contracting party to the Hague Convention on Civil Procedure dated 1954 and the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters dated 1965. Depending on the nationality of the foreign party, conventions or treaties may apply to service. If no treaty or convention is applicable to the foreign party, claims are served via courts through diplomatic channels.

Breach of contract (ie, failure to fulfil contractual obligations) and tort provisions (violation of rights) are the key causes of commercial litigation in Turkey.

Key causes of action

What are the key causes of action that typically arise in commercial litigation?

Breach of a contract (failure to fulfil contractual obligations) and tort provisions (violation of rights) are the key causes of action in commercial litigation in Turkey.

Claim amendments

Under what circumstances can amendments to claims be made?

In principle, parties may change their claims at the exchange stage of the pleadings. Amendments to claims are also available at the preliminary examination stage of the case, with the consent of the counterparty regarding the amendment. After the completion of the preliminary examination stage, parties can no longer change or extend their claims and defences. At the preliminary examination stage, if a party has not participated at the trial and is unexcused, then the counterparty has the right to change and extend its claims without the consent of the non-participating party.

See question 25 for more information regarding defendant party amendments.

Remedies

What remedies are available to a claimant in your jurisdiction?

The following remedies are available:

  • compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, which cannot be punitive and can only be compensatory due to the prohibition on enrichment under the compensation rules in Turkish law;
  • a judgment granting performance of a contract;
  • annulment of a contract;
  • a declaratory judgment; and
  • cancellation of a registered right.
Recoverable damages

What damages are recoverable? Are there any particular rules on damages that might make this jurisdiction more favourable than others?

The main framework for recoverable damages consists of two aspects: negative damages and positive damages. Under these two main aspects are subsections such as, inter alia, loss of profits, actual damages and the re-establishment of the damaged party’s condition prior to the harmful incident.

Punitive damages are not available in Turkey due to a prohibition on enrichment.

Responding to the claim

Early steps available

What steps are open to a defendant in the early part of a case?

A defendant has to submit preliminary objections within the legal period for submitting a response to a petition. The preliminary objections are a jurisdiction plea, an objection to arbitration and an objection to the judicial division of work.

A defendant has right to bring a counterclaim within the legal period for submitting a response petition. If the defendant claims that a third party is liable for the claims, the defendant may request that the court announces the case to the relevant third party.

Defence structure

How are defences structured, and must they be served within any time limits? What documents need to be appended to the defence?

The response petition should include the same main facts (see question 17 for the required facts) as the claimant’s lawsuit petition. The defendant should submit its response petition together with its evidence list before the court within two weeks of receiving officially the lawsuit petition. If it is difficult or impossible to submit a response petition within this period, the defendant may request an extension of up to one month within the prescribed two-week period.

Changing defence

Under what circumstances may a defendant change a defence at a later stage in the proceedings?

According to the CCP, defendants have the right to change their defences without restriction before the completion of the exchange of petitions. After this period, defendants may change their defences only with the express assent of the counterparty.

A defendant also has the right to amend its defences one time before the end of the investigation process.

Sharing liability

How can a defendant establish the passing on or sharing of liability?

As mentioned in question 23, if a defendant claims that a third party is liable for the claims, he or she may request that the court announce the proceedings to the relevant third party. However, the announcement procedure would not make that third party a party to the case; nor would the judgment be enforceable against the third party. The announcement would only impact the defendant’s right of recourse against the third party within the scope of their internal affairs.

Avoiding trial

How can a defendant avoid trial?

A defendant can avoid trial by admitting the claim or making a settlement. A defendant can also avoid a court hearing by submitting an acceptable excuse (eg, health issues). In addition, a defendant can avoid proceedings by disputing the preliminary objections - for example, a jurisdiction plea, an objection to arbitration or an objection to the judicial division of work - which will be examined primarily by the court.

Case of no defence

What happens in the case of a no-show or if no defence is offered?

If a defendant has not submitted a response petition in due time, it will be deemed that all claims are denied. Therefore, the court may pursue judgment with regard to the claimant’s allegations. The defendant’s absence does not avoid the pursuit of a judgment.

Claiming security

Can a defendant claim security for costs? If so, what form of security can be provided?

According to article 48 of the IPCPL, foreign individuals or legal persons who file a lawsuit, intervene in a lawsuit or initiate execution proceedings before a Turkish court shall be required to provide security, the amount of which shall be determined by the court in order to cover the expenses of the legal procedures and proceedings, as well as losses or damages of a party. However the court may exempt the plaintiff in execution proceedings from providing security on a reciprocity basis. Turkey is a contracting state of the Hague Convention of Civil Procedure of 1954, which regulates exemptions for bond payment between contracting states. On the other hand, there are some international treaties and bilateral agreements between Turkey and other states for the avoidance of bond payments; therefore, if a foreigner is a citizen of such state, he or she may be exempted from the said security. Security payments can be provided in cash or as a bank letter of guarantee.

Progressing the case

Typical procedural steps

What is the typical sequence of procedural steps in commercial litigation in this country?

A mandatory mediation process has to be completed before bringing a claim (see question 10). Thereafter, the procedural steps in commercial litigation in Turkey begin with the filing of the lawsuit petition. Within a period of two weeks from service of the lawsuit petition, the defendant must submit its response petition or request an extension to submit its written statement of defence. An additional period of up to one month can be granted by the courts. There are two types of judgment procedure: a simple judgment, and a written judgment procedure regulated by the CCP. In written judgment procedures, the parties have the right to submit their second responses within two weeks of service of the counterparty’s petition. After the completion of petition submissions, the court schedules a preliminary hearing date. At the hearing, the court will determine the disputed matter and evaluate preliminary objections, if any. In addition, the court invites the parties to make settlement and will take their statements regarding conciliation before progressing to trial. Upon the parties’ request, the court may decide to hear witness statements if this is necessary to solve the disputed matter. Therefore, the court will appoint another hearing date. After obtaining all of the evidence, including witness statements, the court may decide to send the case file to an expert in order to obtain an expert report. Parties have a right to object to determinations made by experts in their reports. Following the conclusion of the foregoing procedures, the court will issue a decision on the merits of the claim.

District court decisions can be appealed by the parties. In general, the appeal period is two weeks. The first evaluation will be made by a regional court of justice if the claim exceeds 4,400 lira. The decision of the regional court of justice could be appealed by both parties by submitting appeal petitions before the Court of Appeal if the claim exceeds 58,800 lira. For more detailed information, see question 50.

Bringing in additional parties

Can additional parties be brought into a case after commencement?

See question 26.

Consolidating proceedings

Can proceedings be consolidated or split?

The court may decide, ex officio or upon request of the parties, to split or consolidate cases during any phase of the proceedings. The court will consider the following situations before splitting or consolidating proceedings;

  • cases that have a linked topic and that are in the same jurisdiction at the same level of court can be consolidated; and
  • cases that were brought together to the court or consolidated by the court at any point can be split if this is necessary for proceedings to run efficiently.
Court decision making

How does a court decide if the claims or allegations are proven? What are the elements required to find in favour, and what is the burden of proof?

Under the Turkish law system, all means of proof can be accepted as evidence unless provided unlawfully. Evidence shall not require absolute certainty: it only helps in proving the claims. The court will decide whether the claim is true by considering written evidence primarily as well as other evidence, and by hearing minutes and experts’ opinion regarding technical issues.

The burden of proof rests with the party who will gain a legal benefit from the court’s decision according to its allegations.

How does a court decide what judgments, remedies and orders it will issue?

The courts are prohibited from granting something different or additional to what has been asked for. For possible remedies and orders, see question 21.

Evidence

How is witness, documentary and expert evidence dealt with?

The list of witnesses, as well as their addresses, shall be submitted, along with an explanation regarding how their knowledge is relevant to the case. Witnesses are questioned at a hearing by the court, and their testimonies are recorded in the minutes of the hearing. Documentary evidence is also a common form of evidence, most of which is submitted before the court while filing first claims and defences. Documentary evidence such as official company records, signed agreements and documents submitted to the administrative bodies is considered more reliable than witness testimony.

The court will appoint an expert if a disputed matter concerns technical issues to be determined by experts. In Turkey, upon a request by the parties, if a disputed matter requires evaluation regarding its technical aspects, the court may appoint an expert by choosing from an official list of experts, and send the case file to the expert in order to obtain an expert report. Experts examine disputed matters by considering all documents involved in the case file and all technical aspects before preparing an expert report. Parties have a right to object to determinations in the expert report. If the court finds the objections reasonable, it may decide to obtain an additional report.

How does the court deal with large volumes of commercial or technical evidence?

As a general principle, the court has to evaluate all of the documents submitted lawfully, with no restriction regarding the volume of evidence. Therefore, should the need arise, the court may appoint an expert as explained in question 35.

Can a witness in your jurisdiction be compelled to give evidence in or to a foreign court? And can a court in your jurisdiction compel a foreign witness to give evidence?

If a witness is not residing in the province where the hearings are held, then the court may issue an order to the judge in the province where the witness resides to take that witness’s testimony. In international matters, such order will be made through the relevant consulate, and the testimony of the witness will be heard at the consulate buildings in light of the court’s writ. If a witness did not attend the hearing without an excuse despite an invitation sent by the court, the court will send a court writ to the relevant police station in order to make the witness attend the hearing. If the witness resists attending the hearing to be questioned by the court, the court may decide to impose an administrative fine on the witness.

How is witness and documentary evidence tested up to and during trial? Is cross-examination permitted?

The court asks questions related to the claims primarily and gives the parties’ lawyers the right to pose questions to the witnesses. The parties’ lawyers can ask direct questions of witnesses; however, the parties cannot ask questions of witnesses directly, but can pose questions to the judge.

Time frame

How long do the proceedings typically last, and in what circumstances can they be expedited?

On average, complex commercial litigation cases typically take about one to two years in the courts of first instance. Preliminary injunction requests and non-delayable claims, where delay may lead to irreparable damage, can be expedited at the court’s discretion.

Gaining an advantage

What other steps can a party take during proceedings to achieve tactical advantage in a case?

Although the means of gaining a tactical advantage are limited, default and summary judgments can be seen in practice. If one of the duly invited parties attends a hearing and the other does not, the proceedings are continued or the file is cancelled at the request of the party that attended. The party who does not attend the hearing without a valid excuse cannot object to the procedural actions made in its absence. In the event that an interim injunction is required, the judge may decide to take measures without hearing the other party in cases where it is necessary to immediately protect the rights of the requesting party.

Impact of third-party funding

If third parties are able to fund the costs of the litigation and pay adverse costs, what impact can this have on the case?

Third-party funding is possible, and there are some asset management companies in Turkey. Third-party funding is not taken into consideration by the courts.

Impact of technology

What impact is technology having on complex commercial litigation in your jurisdiction?

Technological developments mean that it is possible for parties to submit information and documents to the court on flash disks or CDs. The court may, with the consent of the parties, allow them or their representatives to participate in hearings and carry out procedural proceedings from a different location from the court through the simultaneous transmission of audio and video.

It is possible to find all information and documents in the case file through an online system named the National Judicial Network Information System (UYAP). Through UYAP, the parties’ lawyers can access all the information and documents in the case file with their personal passwords. At the same time, documents can be submitted through this system by the parties’ lawyers.

Parallel proceedings

How are parallel proceedings dealt with? What steps can a party take to gain a tactical advantage in these circumstances, and may a party bring private prosecutions?

There may be administrative or criminal proceedings in connection with an ongoing civil case. If necessary, the administrative or criminal case may be held as a preliminary issue, in which case the civil case will cease until the relevant court’s proceeding is finalised.

Trial

Trial conduct

How is the trial conducted for common types of commercial litigation? How long does the trial typically last?

For a detailed explanation regarding procedural steps, see question 30. The number of oral hearings depends on the complexity of the case. The length of the hearing may take between 10 minutes and one hour, depending on the procedures to be performed at the hearing.

Use of juries

Are jury trials the norm, and can they be denied?

Jury trials do not exist in Turkey.

Confidentiality

How is confidentiality treated? Can all evidence be publicly accessed? How can sensitive commercial information be protected? Is public access granted to the courts?

In the Turkish legal system, hearings and decisions are public as a general rule. However, it is possible to gain an exception if the parties are able to explain in detail how important it is to protect confidential business information or their private information.

Media interest

How is media interest dealt with? Is the media ever ordered not to report on certain information?

As a rule, hearings and decisions are open to the public. However, in cases where public morality or public security makes it necessary, the court may decide to hold the hearings secretly. In this case, access to the content of the proceedings will be restricted. Under the legislation related to the media, the exercise of the liberty of the press can be limited only for the purposes set out in law. In this respect, the content of the news that the media will be allowed to report may be limited exceptionally in accordance with the procedures stated in the Constitution and under law.

Proving claims

How are monetary claims valued and proved?

Determination of the amount of damage constitutes the subject of the merits. The amount of damage must be determined by the claimant when filing a lawsuit. To determine the amount of loss, usually an expert is assigned, and the commercial books and records of the parties are examined in practice. The court determines the amount of the damage on the basis of the expert reports and any other evidence submitted to the court. Regardless of an amount determined by an expert, the amount that will be decided by the court shall be no higher than the amount claimed under the ultra petita prohibition found in Turkish law.

Post-trial

Costs

How does the court deal with costs? What is the typical structure and length of judgments in complex commercial cases, and are they publicly accessible?

The following can be seen in the typical structure of a court decision:

  • a summary of the claims and defences of the parties regarding the procedures and merits of the case;
  • assessments made in expert reports;
  • witness statements;
  • the court’s decision and its justification for it; and
  • the method of application of the remedies.

Reasoned decisions in proceedings involving commercial disputes run to between three and 10 pages on average. In highly complex files, reasoned decisions may be longer.

As a rule, case files are open to the public in Turkey. As stated in question 47, there might be exceptional circumstances where the case files are not open to the public.

A plaintiff is obliged to deposit an amount to be determined by the Ministry of Justice as an advance payment tariff each year when filing a lawsuit; this is a cause of action. Other costs and expenses incurred during proceedings may be imposed on the claimant or the defendant by the court, depending on the court’s decision regarding the parties’ interests. The party who has lost the case shall compensate the other party’s litigation costs and the fees of his or her attorney (if any).

Appeals

When can judgments be appealed? How many stages of appeal are there and how long do appeals tend to last?

A decision of the first instance court could be appealed by the parties. In general, the appeal period is two weeks from service of the justified decision of the court. An appeal evaluation shall be made by a regional court of justice if the claim exceeds 4,400 lira. The decision of the regional court of justice could be appealed by submitting an appeal petition before the Court of Appeal if the claim exceeds 58,800 lira. The appeal process may last up to three years.

A regional court of justice shall examine applications limited to the reasons stated in the appeal petition. As an exception, the regional court of justice shall observe this ex officio if it deems something is contrary to the public order. However, the Court of Appeal is not limited to the reasons asserted by the parties: it may examine other matters that it deems contrary to the explicit provisions of the law.

Enforceability

How enforceable internationally are judgments from the courts in your jurisdiction?

Turkey is a contracting party to many international agreements regarding the recognition and enforcement of foreign court decisions, such as:

  • the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road;
  • the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail;
  • the Hague Convention dated 1958; and
  • the Hague Convention dated 1973, and the Hague Convention on Cooperation in the Protection of Children and International Adoption.

Since Turkey has reciprocity relations with a large number of states, its court decisions can be recognised and enforced easily by filing a lawsuit claiming recognition and enforcement.

How do the courts in your jurisdiction support the process of enforcing foreign judgments?

Enforcement of court decrees rendered by foreign courts in the course of civil lawsuits shall be requested by a petition from the court of first instance mutually designated by the parties. In the absence of such agreement, the competent court shall be the court at the domicile of the person in Turkey against whom the award is rendered, or in the absence of domicile, the person’s place of habitual residence, and in the absence thereof, the court at the location of the property that may be subject to execution. Anyone who has legal interest in the enforcement of a decree can request such.

One of the essential conditions to decide the enforcement of a foreign judgment is that of reciprocity between Turkey and the related state. There must be an agreement on the basis of reciprocity between states or a provision of law or de facto implementation that makes possible the enforcement of proceedings issued by Turkish courts in that state. Foreign judgments that are subject to a decisions to be enforced are executed as decisions given by Turkish courts.

Other considerations

Interesting features

Are there any particularly interesting features or tactical advantages of litigating in this country not addressed in any of the previous questions?

In commercial disputes, the Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC), an independent, neutral and impartial institution, provides efficient dispute resolution services for both international and domestic parties. The ISTAC’s dispute resolution services are available to all contracting parties without any membership requirements. Providing parties with a neutral, flexible and confidential setting for dispute resolution on an international scale, the ISTAC constitutes an exclusive alternative for the resolution of disputes, with less expense and within the shortest amount of time possible.

In addition to the foregoing, court fees and costs are much lower in Turkey than in European countries, which is taken into consideration as a financial advantage by most companies and people.

On the other hand, clients are provided highly qualified legal counselling with lower costs in Turkey. Lawyers are dedicated to providing creative and various solutions to their clients, drawing on their experience in a wide range of legal areas, including cross-border disputes.

Jurisdictional disadvantages

Are there any particular disadvantages of litigating in your jurisdiction, whether procedural or pragmatic?

Due to the workload of the courts, proceedings, including the remedies stage, are quite lengthy. In addition, the courts have to be guided by lawyers regarding experts. The courts themselves are not able to choose the expertise that is relevant to examine a disputed matter technically. Therefore, the role of the lawyer is very important when the court is choosing an expert for a case file. In Turkey, there are many qualified lawyers who have gained experience from dealing with such difficult circumstances during proceedings.

Special considerations

Are there special considerations to be taken into account when defending a claim in your jurisdiction, that have not been addressed in the previous questions?

Defending a claim in Turkey requires the consideration of every aspect explained in previous questions. Every case must be considered within its own framework. However, there is no difference in following a case file on either the claimant’s or the defendant’s side.

Updates and trends

Key developments of the past year

What were the key cases, decisions, judgements and policy and legislative developments of the past year?

Key developments of the past year56 What were the key cases, decisions, judgments and policy and legislative developments of the past year?

In Turkey, the most important recent development related to commercial disputes is the introduction of mandatory mediation for commercial disputes under Law No. 7155, published in the Official Gazette, dated 19 January 2018 and numbered 30630. Pursuant to this regulation, claimants must apply for mediation before a lawsuit is filed before the court.

In addition, a Judicial Reform Strategy Draft was published by the Ministry of Justice in May 2019. One of the regulations for commercial disputes in the objectives section of the document, which includes extensive planning, is that some cases (such as commercial lawsuits, and intellectual and industrial right lawsuits) will be examined in specialised courts in city centres.