Lawyer in Turkey: 2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Management Liability - Owners Association Law of Apartments - Accounting Records

One of my clients, is a board member of a Owners Association,  has been involved in a court case that encourages me to bring this subject in question to reach a wider audience.

The Turkish Court in question decided that the elected directors of an association of owners have acted criminally reprehensible because they have not properly kept and closed accounting books of the owners' association, officially. Which means that the accounting records has to be closed and approved by a Public Notary in Turkey.

This concerns the formal conclusion of the official books of an association of owners in accordance with Article 36 of the Law on Apartments. Article 36 of this Act stipulates that a director of an association is obliged to keep all official records of the association, such as the agreements, the expenses, the meeting invitations, the powers of attorney and all the briefings with data and overview in time order in an official notarized legalized book that must be closed and approved by a Public Notary at the end of each calendar year. This accounting records are in a separate book (Gelir Gider Defteri) than the official decision book (Karar Defteri) in which the decisions of the association are included.

A board member at an Association of Owners is usually an unpaid job. Voluntary work, unless the members decide otherwise. The nomination for a board position takes place at the time of the annual general members meeting. An association is obliged to meet at least once every year. A director must be appointed by an advanced majority of votes. An advanced majority consists of majority in shareholding as well as majority in the number of members present. A director can only be appointed for a period of maximum one (1) year. The board of an association consists of one or three members. (not 2 or 4).

The appointed board (members) are responsible for correctly recording the accounting records. The administration must be kept in time in a Notary legalized administration book (Gelir Gider Defteri).

The administration book has to be closed and approved by the Public Notary in Turkey at the end of each calendar year. 
When the assembly is closing the year in f.e. April or September. Then the financial year is ending in April or September, before the General Assembly occurs.
Even when the financial activities of the Owners Association are delegated to a third party like a Home Management Company, the appointed board (members) remains responsible for correctly keeping and closing the books.

My advice is make sure that you get a good advice before you enter into a director / board member position as a foreigner. It saves you a lot of headaches at the end.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Legally change your Name in Turkey

There are a lot of reasons as to why a foreigner in Turkey might want to change their name.
Since the existing of humanity it is essential that a person is addressed with a name. Also a legal name has to be used to make the distinction between persons and families.

A first and last name is a legal and also unique to identity of a person within the society.
When a person does not agree with his / her name, this person has the right to change his / her name in court.
Examples of reasons are: difficulty in pronouncing, ridiculous, asking questions, creates annoyance, unethical, leads to confusion, meaningless, gender reassignment, bad reputation of the family, forbidden name, and so on.
This article as such does not concern the above-mentioned ponderous reasons, but rather situations in which foreigners, desired or undesirable, have become involved during the acquisition of the Turkish Nationality (the Turkish Kimlik).

It is that Turkey has had a strange policy in granting Turkish citizenship to foreigners and provided foreigners a Turkish name when they were granted Turkish citizenship.
Foreigners often got a new Turkish name next to their own name or even instead of their own name. The explanation was that a Turkish citizen could not have a foreign name or foreign character characters in their own name.
The unsuspecting foreigner did not have any knowledge of the legal consequences that this could have on his life.
Technically, a second personality was created next to the identity that the foreigner already had.
In my opinion a violation of the personality rights.

A practical example:
Mrs. Sarah Koster has got a Turkish surname after her marriage with a Turkish citizen.
She is registered as Sarah Selma Bal. However, her name is simply Sarah Koster on her foreign passport. After 20 years of marriage she ends up in a divorce and gets her maiden name Koster back.

After the divorce procedure the added Turkish name 'Selma' is not included in the court decision.
Mrs. Sarah Koster has to start a separate name change procedure.  Another option is to keep the name Selma. Usually a legal procedure has to be started in your own country, to register the name Selma next to your own name.

Recently changes of the Turkish Name Act, has caused that this policy is no longer applied. But the legal situation for those who have received a Turkish name remains unchanged.
If desired, a short court procedure to Civil Affairs, is needed to change your name. The final decision will be published in several local newspapers in order to register it in the Civil Registry.