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How to collect debt(debt recovery) in Turkey?

The Republic of Turkey is strategically situated between Western Asia and Southeastern Europe. The country has boundaries with eight countries ( Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria ) and has a robust economy, a large internal market, a strategic location, a large population, high doing business index performance indicators and is a member of many international organizations. Thus, it is an important country for the sale of services and goods.

The significance of debt recovery for the businesses is well known by everyone. It simply provides businesses with timely cash flow, strong relationships with customers, allows businesses to grow, saves businesses more money, saves staff time and so on.

As it could be the case with any country, there is always a substantial risk of insolvency or delays while doing business with any legal entity or individual in Turkey. So, either holding a local or an international trade, it's necessary to have some information on the laws of the country and work with a professional lawyer with expertise and knowledge in the country's financial structure and legal processes to guarantee a smooth debt recovery.

Having stated all that, let me plunge into the details. According to Turkish law, a creditor/claimant can collect its debt in two distinct ways. First, there are enforcement procedures without judgment before the executive office. The second way is to start a court case with a debt action in the local/first instance courts.

The procedure at the executive office is as follows: After the creditor/claimant has made its claim, the executive office sends a payment order to the debtor. Once the debtor receives the order, s/he/it has 7 days to object to the order of payment. If no objection is raised, the claim shall be deemed completed and in order to collect the debt, the enforcement process may continue with the seizure of the debtor's assets and properties.

If there is such an objection, the entire process comes to a halt and the creditor/claimant must submit an application for temporary/permanent withdrawal of the objection at the enforcement court within six months from the date of the objection or file a case to strike down the objection at local/first instance courts within 1 year from the date the objection was filed.

At the trial, the creditor/claimant must prove their case. If the debt action results in the creditor/claimant's favour, the verdict shall be immediately enforceable against the debtor. Once the creditor/claimant has brought the verdict to the executive office and commenced the enforcement process, contrary to the first method, this time debtor's objection will not be enough to terminate the process.

Apart from everything else, during the trial or in advance of the trial the creditor/claimant has the right to request the precautionary attachment (interim injunction) of debtor's moveable property and immovables, including the rights and debts in the possession of third parties. Interim injunction can continue until the judicial process is finished. In any event, the creditor/claimant must demonstrate to the court that this interim/provisional measure is truly necessary.

It should be noted that a foreign individual or legal entity who/which engages in execution procedures or brings proceedings in the courts must lodge a guarantee/collateral ( an amount usually equal to about 20% of the total amount contested; however, the percentage is at the discretion of the judge ) unless a legal or factual reciprocity exists between the creditor/claimant's country and The Republic of Turkey.

Finally, I must point out that the information given above is quite simplified. The legal process can be very challenging, even for professionals. I therefore advise you not to do anything by yourself in order to avoid any loss of rights and claims.


NOTE: This information paper was not written as a recommendation or with the promise of a definitive conclusion and is only aimed at providing background information. Since the relevant laws may have changed and/or your problem may present a special circumstance, it is advisable to contact the author( Atty. Enes Teker ) of the paper for possible solutions and legal aid.


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