There are two means to give an effect to a foreign court decision in Turkey, namely the recognition of a foreign judgment and the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment according to the International Private and Civil Procedure Law No. 5718 (the Code No.5718).
The mere recognition of a foreign judgment does not enable such court decision to be enforced in Turkey compulsorily but provides the acknowledgement of the same of having the power of a final judgment. In other words, if the foreign judgment is only recognized by the Turkish courts, the said decision, according to Article 58 of the Code;
- may be taken into account as a definite and final judgment in another case brought before the Turkish courts and that case may be dismissed with prejudice; or
- may be taken into account as a conclusive evidence in another case brought before the Turkish Courts; or
- may give right to the related person to have the respective authority in Turkey make an administrative act.
As is stated above, a foreign court decision cannot be enforced, if such decision is only recognized in Turkey. In order for such decision to have an effect to be executed in Turkey, it must be held to be enforced in addition to being recognized by the Turkish Courts. In this respect, Article 50 of the Code No.5718 states that a judgment in a civil case, which has been given by a foreign court and has become finalized according to the law of the country where the respective court is situate, can only be enforced, if the competent Turkish Court rules for the recognition and enforcement of the said foreign court decision. For the recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgment in Turkey, the following conditions must be fulfilled together:
1. There should be (a) a reciprocity agreement between Turkey and the country in which the decision is rendered or (b) a legal provision or "de facto" application which allows the enforcement of the decisions rendered by the Turkish Courts.
2. The decision of the foreign court should be "final" in accordance with the laws applied in the country in which the court is competent. For the purposes of this clause; "final" means there is not any legal remedy which may be pursued against such decision of the court such as appeal, application to upper court etc.
3. The decision of the foreign court should not be rendered in relation with a matter which is within the exclusive competence of the Turkish courts.
4. The decision of the foreign court should not be against the Turkish public order. The essential matter here is that it is not required for the content of such decision to be in compliance with the Turkish public order. Merely, the consequences that may arise as a result of the enforcement of such decision in Turkey should not constitute a contradiction with the Turkish public order.
5. The court should have enabled the other party to use its right to defend itself before the court.
We would like you also take a note that when the foreign judgment is brought before the Turkish courts by demanding the recognition and enforcement of the same, the court will review whether the conditions above are fulfilled or not. For that reason, the Turkish courts can never research whether a foreign judgment is legal and rightful. Therefore, once the Turkish courts come to the conclusion that the conditions mentioned above are completely fulfilled, then it must hold for the recognition and enforcement of such decision.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.