Lawyer in Turkey: 2016

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Paying Criminal Fines in Turkey as a foreigner

What are the following actions after a criminal fine? How can you, as a  foreigner pay a fine? Where you have to pay? Can you travel to Turkey if you are convicted to pay a fine? Can you pay in terms? How do you know if the court decision is not disputed,  or in other words if it will be executed?

The chance that you will be sentenced to pay a fine after getting involved with the Turkish judicial system is very high. Any Turkish juridical decision to pay a fine will be notified to the person in question on the (foreign) residence address. But what happens afterwards? You will be groping in the dark as a foreigner. You will not be explained about the execution proceedings of the decision.

Due to international agreements with foreign authorities, the Turkish decision will be served personally to the convicted person at his/her residence address. Hereafter the appeal period of 7 days is starting to operate. In exception a public prosecutor will appeal within the 7 days. The expiry of 7 days will lead to an irrevocably determined decision. 

Once the judicial decision has been declared irrevocable, within 2 to 3 months it will be forwarded to the concerning department for the enforcement of the fine. It is not possible to pay the fine, as long as the court has not forwarded the decision to the authority who is  responsible for the enforcement of it.

The executing authority will serve a payment order c.q. notice to the address of the convicted. The serving procedure of the payment order will also take at least 3 to 4 months.

After the payment order has been served to the convicted, there is a period of 30 days to pay the fine. This is possible by paying off the total amount or in terms payment. If the fine is not paid off within the prescribed period, the fine can still be converted into a community service sentence or a custodial sentence.

You are able to do the payment in person or by an authorized lawyer at the responsible authority for the execution of the fine (mentioned in the payment order). This authority will  draw up a document submitted to the tax office. With this submitted document you have to go to the cash desk of the Turkish tax authority in order to pay the fine. You can do this by paying off the total amount or make an agreement for terms payment.  In sequel the payment receipt must be notified to the department of execution in order that the payment is entered in their system. 

It is not (yet) possible to pay off the payment from abroad or transfer it to an account of the Turkish tax authorities.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Confiscate a pet- ethical issue or not

A while ago I talked about the rights of a pet living in an apartment building.
A pet can and may not simply be banned by the owners association. I already explained that a legal intervention is a must.

This time I want to talk about, whether it is permissible to make a pet part of a collection procedure. Not that I have been through this situation myself, but last week an old case popped up. It was a remarkable case which at the same time raised an ethical question; Is it allowed to confiscate a living animal.

During a collection procedure in fact a dog was seized, in this case a French bulldog.
An employee had borrowed under false pretenses money from his employer.
The employer had tried in many ways to get his money back, but with no result. In the end he was tired of all the bullying and lies, that out of desperation and in all anger he had the dog of the employee confiscated. The dog had to go with the veterinarian until the depth was paid. The animal protection organization provided the necessary media which attracted the attention of some political figures.
At the end the depth was paid and the dog could return to his owner.

Ethical issue or not, the lawyer succeeded. The collection procedure was effective.

Do you think it is legally regulated that animals can be confiscated, during a collection procedure?
Confiscation is regulated under the Turkish Debt Collection and Bankruptcy Law.
The legislation clearly indicates which things are not exempt. Pets are not included in this list and therefore you would think they can be seized.

However; since 2004, the Law on Animal Rights in Turkey is valid. According to Article 5 of that law, a companion animal / pet being cared for in a home or garden, can not be seized as a result of a collection procedure, unless the maintenance and care of the pet is part of a commercial purpose. In other words, if the debtor uses the pet to make money, this pet may be seized.

In short; by law, it is illegal to take pets as a result of a monetary claim.
Back to the case that we have deepened us in.
The lawyer in this case was lucky that the bailiff had no knowledge of the Law of Animal Rights, otherwise the story could have taken another turn. I am afraid that of today they still don’t have any knowledge of this law. :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Contruction Obligation within 2 years

The experienced reader will agree with me. The Turkish legislator keeps on tinkering with the Tapu law. Article 35 of this law changed so many times that we, as a lawyer, must often keep the text of the law itself in hand to ensure the content. Article 35 of the Tapu law regulates the conditions under which a foreigner or a foreign company may buy a property in Turkey. With the latest amendments introduced in May 2012, there are a number of important subjects adjusted. In this article I'm going to talk mainly about the changes relating to the acquisition of undeveloped plots.

Foreign companies 

Before the changes to the Tapu law in May 2012 were carried out, foreign companies could without difficulty purchase detached homes. Buying a house / apartment on behalf of a foreign company was therefore no problem. After the amendments of May 2012, this is no longer possible. With the current change a foreign company may only under special legislation (such as the Petroleum Law, the Energy Act or the Tourism concerns) purchase an uncultivated land under the condition that the company within two years after purchase date has to submit an investment project for the property at the Council of Ministers. The purchase procedure is linked to an authorization procedure by the Council of Ministers.

Foreigner as a natural person 

Buying a house / apartment as property for a foreign person takes no restrictions with it, provided that the house / apartment is located in a restricted area, according to the Ministry of Defense. However, the Council of Ministers reserve the right at all times to special restrictions or impose further conditions on the purchasing procedures. The legislator, with the legislative amendment of 2012 also has imposed the same construction requirement of two years on the foreigner who is purchasing (undeveloped) land or have already purchased.

The consequences

Rightly you'll wonder what happens when the foreigner or the foreign firm fails to comply with the required conditions, namely the submission of an investment project or when there is not started to build in accordance with the investment project within the specified period. The investment project must be filed within two years after the purchase of a vacant plot in the Cabinet.

If one officially establishes that a foreigner or foreign company, in possession of a property, is in violation of the rules of Article 35 of the Tapu law, the foreign owner will be urged to sell the property within one year. If the owner itself did not sell the property within the year, the property will be publicly executed.
The execution amount will, after deducting the necessary fees and taxes, be paid to the owner. Still there are foreigners who purchase undeveloped plots, but in good faith they state the title deeds (Tapu) on name of a Turkish relationship. This situation I experience myself in my practice very often and I discourage this strongly. Any agreements made between you and your relations are not valid. Get yourself some good information and advise before your dream becomes a nightmare.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Travelling with your pet to Turkey

A pet, we all know them, small and large. Many of us see their pet as a part of the family.
Mainly when we talk about a cat or a dog we often name their character traits as if we are talking about a human being. Precisely for this reason it is hard to say ‘’goodbye’’ during a holiday period. If there is a good temporary stay found with family, friends or at a kennel, most of us can do without them for 1 or 2 weeks.  But if the stay abroad is for a longer period of time, it becomes a different story and taking your pet with you to your vacation destiny is the best solution.

But the best solution is not always the simplest solution. Good preparation is half the battle, especially when it concerns traveling with pets. To help you a little bit, we have put the key points for you at a glance:

  • First it is important to ensure that your pet is examined by a qualified veterinarian. The vet provides the pet with all necessary vaccinations, health certificates and a pet passport. At the moment it is not necessary for Turkey that you pet has a microchip, but that may well change in the future.
  • The veterinarian must have seen / examined the pet up to 96 hours for transport for the last time.
  • All papers, passport, health certificates and vaccinations should be seen and stamped by the department of agriculture in the country of departure. 
  • Your veterinarian can tell you exactly which vaccinations are needed. Keep in mind that the vaccinations are not older than 6 months before departure and are provided at the latest 15 days before departure.
  • Importing ‘’dangerous’’ breeds like Pit-bull Terrier and Japanese Tosa is prohibited.
  • It is possible for one person to carry up to one cat, one dog, one bird or 10 aquarium fish, without additional charges. When you want to enter multiple animals it is seen as commercial imports and there are other procedures apply. 
  • When the animal is healthy and has the necessary papers, the animal upon arrival in Turkey does not need to be put in quarantine.
  • Most airlines have their own animal transport policy. Please ask before you book to avoid disappointment.

Safe flight for you and your loyal friend!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Legislative amendment concerning the usage of foreign- plated vehicles in Turkey

The period that a foreigner could use his or her foreign-plated vehicle in Turkey was limited. For retirees this period consisted of maximal 12 months and for non- retirees 6 months.
The temporarily imported car had to leave the country after the date of import and registration; otherwise the owner of the vehicle could get a penalty because of not obeying the law. After this time the vehicle could be brought into Turkey again, however this was only possible after the vehicle was at least for 185 days outside Turkey.

This temporary import regime satisfied the expectations of the ordinary tourist but not that of expat, the semi permanent retiree or the student living and working in Turkey and planning to use their car for longer than 6/12 months.

The good news is that from 3 October 2015 onwards amendment has been made for the retirees as well non- retirees such as expats / students extending the possibility to use foreign-plated vehicles in Turkey from 6/12 months to 24 months. For both groups, retirees as well the non retirees, the maximal period of 24 months is with the introduction of this amendment applicable. Pay attention to the fact that you need to make a specific request to the customs in this respect.

The main condition of bringing a foreign plated vehicle into Turkey is that only those who are domiciled for 185 days within the last 6 months outside Turkey.

In addition not everyone can make use of this car during his stay in Turkey; only the partner, the children or parents of the one that has imported the car may during this period use the car under condition that the importer of the car is staying himself in Turkey. This means that this amendment does not allow importing a car from abroad so that family and friends can easily make use of it. In other words if the importer of the car does leave Turkey without the vehicle within the 24 months, he must station the car at the Customs or leave a written notary commitment to the Customs that no one will use this vehicle . This amendment is perhaps a bit misleading with regard to import cheap cars to Turkey but brought a real advantage for many expats staying in Turkey for a period longer than six months.

More about this issue could be found on the Turkish Customs (Turkish).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tourist trap; the purchase of jewels

It often happens that a nice vacation ends with a empty wallet and a feeling of fraud after a visit to a huge jewellery store. The period for the purchase of jewels has started. A sparkling necklace has been sold under the following slogan:                                                              

“jewels for 18 carat gold and decorated with real diamonds for only 9000 Euro!”

Although some feelings of regret arise on the side of the consumer after the purchase, the jewels will be valued upon returning home. The valuation shows that the jewels do not contain the value of the characteristics that the seller had stated. The once so sparkling necklace, ring or bracelet, is not sparkling anymore. The seller has lied about the value of the product and has sold it for an amount that is too high. The jewels do not contain the characteristics that were declared by the seller.  The question that you may ask yourself in this situation is as follows: Is it still possible to refrain from the bad purchase?

It should be noted that the rights concerning the protection of consumers in Turkey was differently regulated than the current regulation in this respect. I would like to refer to one of my previous articles regarding these misleading sales practices. In case of a typically lack of the purchased product, the purchaser had under determination of the sales agreement, the right to demand his money back. This was possible within duration of 30 days starting from the moment that the jewels were sold and delivered to the buyer. In case the buyer did not inform the seller within these 30 days concerning the lack of the product, dissolution of the agreement (due to lack of the characteristics of the good) was not possible anymore and the buyer was bound by that contract. The letter concerning termination and reclaiming the money back had to be sent to the seller within these 30 days.

However with the introduction of the last amendments in the law and regulations, the legislator has extended the period of 30 days with 6 months. With this change it is now possible to dissolve the agreement within 6 months after purchase/delivery date. This right exists as long as you can prove that the jewels do not contain the essential characteristics that have been declared by the seller. This is a real welcome to the right of the consumers.

We advise you to contact the seller by a registered letter about the dissolution of the contract relying on the defects of the jewels. A letter by mail is in this regard not sufficient. You should send the letter by registered mail within 6 months. I advice you to send the termination letter both by mail and by letter. Of course we are at your disposal to assist you with the necessary advice and assistance in this matter.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Minimum Wages Turkey 2016 (1st period)

The Turkish government adjusts the minimum wages twice a year. This happens every year on the 1st of January and the 1st of July.

Recently, the Turkish government  has announced the minimum wage for the 1st period of 2016.

The gross salary may consist of:
  • the basic salary in your employment contract has been agreed;
  • the allowances for performance, shifts, irregular hours, standby duty and working conditions;
  • the fixed bonus for the sales you make any payment and you will receive;
  • the rewards of third parties caused by the work.
The total of these amount may not be less than the minimum wage.

Period 01.01.2016 - 30.06.2016
Gross Salary1.647,00
Social Insurance Employee SGK 14%230,58
Unemployment insurance 1%16,47
Income Tax 15% (*)86,46
Cost of living allowance (agi)123,53
Stamp tax 7,59% (*)12,50
Total Deductions346,01
Net Salary1.300,99

Gross Salary1.647,00
Employer contribution Social Insurance SGK 15,5%255,29
Unemployment insurance 2%32,94
Total costs employer1.935,23

Table source:

Please notify:

  • The mentioned aig is minimum and will increase depending on the number of children and marital status.
  • net salary for apartment staff amounts 1399.95
  • Government has promised inducement  110.10 TL for employers. Additional information will be published in the next few days.