Enforcement of Foreign judgments in Turkey

December 31, 2019 Gökhan Cindemir 0 Comments

Enforcement of foreign judgments in Turkey
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This article aim to explain Enforcement Procedure and Conditions in Turkey. International private and civil procedure law of Turkey and Turkish Procedure Law are the main laws governing the procedure of enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Turkey. In this article, we’ll guide our readers based on the provisions of the laws concerned. It is also important to note that Turkey ratified Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards which apply to the cross-border enforcement regarding Arbirtral Awards.

How can a party enforce a decree in Turkey?
Turkish Law does not permit a party to enforce the decision directly without examination of formal requirements of decree. Except some specific situations such as alimony and some decrees concerning family law, foreign judgments cannot be enforced in Turkey without any court stage by just directly applying Turkish Enforcement Offices established under Turkish Law. As mentioned, judgements concerned can be only enforced in exceptional situations based on a certain International Agreements. On other hand, this direct applicability is not possible for judgments related to litigation cases or divorces.

Is that guaranteed that foreign judgment shall be enforced in Turkey?
As mentioned, if foreign judgment fulfills formal criteria of Turkish Law envisaged, it can be enforced. In addition, if a foreign judgment is relating to immovable assets in Turkey, it shall not be accepted.

Then what is the procedure?
The procedure is governed with petty sessional (simple procedure) procedural principles. It means that after couple of petitions among parties (applicant and defendant), the case must be concluded. Therefore, as compared to other case procedures, enforcement of foreign judgment procedure is quicker.

What are Turkish Courts are examining during the procedure?
It is worth to mention that Turkish Law and Turkish Courts are very strict to the formal requirements.

Reciprocity : It is a precondition for enforcement in Turkey. The principle of reciprocity states that favors, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind. Therefore, Turkish Citizens or Turkish Legal Entities must be also capable for enforcement in the country where the judgment is given.

Presence of a Judgment: There must be a judgment which clearly states the decision, amount of dispute, the right given to favor party.

Presence of Absoluteness decision: In this criteria, Turkish Courts are very strict as compared to other countries, despite of New York conventions spirit. Because 6th Article of the conventions’ definition is the word ‘binding’ instead absoluteness’. Turkish Courts must take into account of this provision due to the superiority of International Agreements compared to ordinary Turkish Law.
This criteria generally makes applicant to obtain a new document related to judgment from foreign court, clearly stating that the decision is not appealed. In practice, courts refuse to enforce a decision without that clarification, despite of the fact that defendant can explain to the court that the judgment is not absolute.
Therefore, upon judgment’s delivery it is better to have a separate document from the court that the judgment is not appealed by the other party and explanation that judgment is a final decision.

Turkish Public Order : We confront with that problem generally with judgments violating individual’s rights protected under Human Rights Charters. Western State’s courts are mainly considered as Law State by Turkish Courts. Turkish Courts shall question unsecular decisions given by Islamic countries, if foreign court gave the judgment based on western law principles, it is generally acceptable by Turkish Courts.

Right to Defend: If the defendant was not given a full right to defend themselves, and/or was not informed about the judgment, and was not represented at the court, then application to the court for the enforcement of a foreign judgment will be declined

What is the procedure upon Turkish Court’s approval for enforcement?
Favor judgment which is given by Turkish Court can be executed in Turkish Territory by application to Turkish Enforcement Offices under the framework of Turkish Courts. The decision shall be binding in Turkey and applicable as another ordinary Turkish Court Degree.

Finalization Matter

Enforcement of foreign judgements in Turkey is only possible when right of appeal is exhausted. There 2 high courts in Turkey. Accordingly, if the judgement is above 10.000 USD amount, it will be reviewed by 2 other superior courts (İstinaf and then Yargıtay). After finalization of the judgement , creditor may request the money from the debtor. In other words, finalization process may take more than 3 years minimum. In that regard, we highly recommend to our clients to start enforcement process by depositing 15 percent of the debt amount and to request interim measure on the assets of the debtor during the court procedure. This action forces the debtor immidiately to pay the debt due to the reputation problem to the banks.

Interim injunctions are required to avoid any possible negative results in the course of the case. Therefore, in the course of the case, court may decide cautionary judgment in order to prevent any damages. Interim injunctions can be requested from the court before or after the case is filed. Implementation of interim measures on the debtor can be seizure of the bank account (mostly) or seizure of goods from the debtor company. In case of considering many years of this court process, interim measures are so efficient. And foreign judgments are prima facae documents proving the debt and it is very easy to get the interim measure decision from the court by submitting similar high court decisions.

You can find more details regarding interim injuctions here on our article: Interim Injunctions In Turkish Law

Enforcement of Foreign judgments in Turkey was last modified: January 31st, 2020 by Gökhan Cindemir