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The Turkish litigation practice has never had a positive image, especially from foreign companies’ standpoint. While the reasons for the latter are numerous, unacceptable duration of court proceedings, which may be up to 4-5 years including the appeal stage, has probably been the main factor. Accordingly, resorting to litigation by filing a court case before Turkish courts has never been a preferred strategy for foreigners when taking legal action against their Turkish debtors.

In Turkey, commercial court cases, which, for many, constitute the most important part of the Turkish litigation practice, are handled in accordance with Civil Procedural Law No. 1086 (The Law). Enacted in 1927, the Law has been amended numerous times since then. The most common criticisms brought against the Law are (i) its old-school language which contains plenty of obsolete expressions, (ii) its complexity and especially (iii) its loopholes which make it vulnerable to abuse by defendants acting in bad faith.

On 12 January 2011, the Turkish Parliament passed Civil Procedural Law No. 6100 (The New Law), which will have abrogated and replaced the Law as of 1 October 2011. Although the New Law cannot be considered as a breakthrough in Turkish litigation practice, it brings forth a number of useful procedural mechanisms which would obviously have an accelerating effect in respect of court proceedings. Some noteworthy features of the New Law are as follows:

  • The most essential change introduced by the New Law is incontestably the establishment of a new procedural phase called “preliminary investigation” (on inceleme). Pursuant to the current practice of the Law, each party to a certain case submits two petitions to the court including their respective claims and arguments before the “investigation” phase of the case begins. Most of the time, these petitions are submitted at the first hearings. Since intervals between hearings are usually a few months in Turkey, the first hearings of the cases are only held for the submission of the parties’ mutual petitions/evidences and last a couple of minutes (!). No need to say that this practice is not effective at all and makes both the parties and the court lose too much time. The New Law puts an end to this “absurdity”. In accordance with Articles 137 to 140 of the New Law, no hearing shall be held by the court before parties’ respective pre-investigation petitions have been submitted to it. Even the latter would be sufficient to shorten cases almost a year.Moreover, once the pre-investigation petitions are submitted, a “preliminary investigation hearing” shall be held. The preliminary investigation hearing has a very important feature: Article 140 of the New Law provides that, in such hearing, the court shall order the parties to submit their respective evidences that they have not submitted yet (if any) in 2 (two) weeks the latest. Any party failing to submit its evidences within such term shall forfeit the right to submit additional evidence and the court shall immediately proceed to the “investigation” phase whereby it would evaluate the parties’ petitions/evidences collectively and subsequently make its judgment. This provision is also extremely useful because under the current practice of the Law, defendants acting in bad faith purposely protract court cases through late submission of their evidences. The New Law eliminates this weakness of the Law too.


  •  Article 107 provides for the possibility of filing cases with indefinite monetary claims: When filing its case, a certain claimant does not always know the exact amount of money that it should claim. According to New Law, in the event a claimant files its case as an “indefinite-receivable case” (belirsiz alacak davasi), it shall be entitled to freely raise the amount of its monetary claims once the amount of such claims is crystallized throughout court investigation.


  • Article 109 expressly allows claimants to file “partial cases”: Sometimes, when filing its case, a claimant knows the amount of money that it should claim, but it does not prefer to claim all of it. Pursuant to New Law, claimants shall have the option of filing partial cases (kismi dava), which would make them pay less court charges and especially take less monetary risk. 2 •


  • Two out of the four different case investigation types in the Law have been abrogated by the New Law, which would make Turkish procedural law much less complex.