After many years of discussions and preparation, the Istanbul Arbitration Centre (“ISTAC”) has been established in 2015 with the ambition of becoming an attractive alternative dispute resolution centre for domestic and international disputes in the region. The long-awaited arbitration and mediation rules and tariffs of ISTAC (“ISTAC Rules”) have now been published on the ISTAC website. Thus, ISTAC is now fully operational, and ready, with its specialised arbitrators, to serve its clients in Turkish, English, French and German.

The previous endeavors for the establishment of a solid arbitration practice in Turkey, namely the Arbitration Rules of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and the Arbitration Rules of the Union of Chambers of Commerce and the Commodity Exchanges of Turkey have failed to satisfy the needs. ISTAC rules, on the other hand, introduce new concepts to Turkish law, such as fast-track arbitration, procedural timetable and emergency arbitrator.

According to the fast-track arbitration, in all cases where the economic value of the claims and the counterclaims do not exceed TRY 300,000 (approx. EUR 92,450) in total, the case shall, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, be subject to the fast-track procedure. In this case, the dispute shall be settled by a sole arbitrator within three (3) months. However, parties can also explicitly agree to the fast-track arbitration even in cases where the amount in dispute is above the threshold.  

Additionally, regardless of whether or not the dispute is being resolved through fast-track arbitration, a procedural timetable shall be prepared by the sole arbitrator or arbitral tribunal upon receiving the parties’ opinions. This is done at the stage where the terms of reference are being drawn up. This timetable will determine the date of pleadings, hearings and other procedural issues as deemed appropriate, such as the time limit for the award.      

Further, in parallel with the rules of leading international arbitration institutions, the rules provide a right to request the appointment of an emergency arbitrator. In this respect, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, they may, in cases of emergency, request to obtain an interim measure from the emergency arbitrator, before the transmission of the case to the sole arbitrator or arbitral tribunal.

Beside its rules conforming to international standards and fast procedure, ISTAC also comes to the forefront with its low cost tariffs, which present a challenge to its competitors, both in Turkey and abroad.