Turkey: Turkey’s Brand New Self-Justice System

Turkey's judicial system has undergone many reforms over the past decade, such as a new Criminal Code, Commercial Code, Code of Obligations and Civil Procedure Code. Until June 2012, the most prominent change in the judicial system was the new Civil Procedure Code (the "CPC"). However, the impact of the Law of Mediation for Civil Conflicts (the "Mediation Law"),1 enacted in June 2012, may surpass that of the CPC.

After the Mediation Law, the Regulation on Mediation for Civil Conflicts (the "Regulation")2 was passed in January 2013. Both the Mediation Law and the Regulation set forth the fundamentals of the mediation process, while also regulating the institutional structure to be established within the current judicial system. However, since the initial announcement of the draft Mediation Law, there have been many discussions and debates within public platforms. Many people, especially attorneys, argued against the draft, even claiming that the draft Mediation Law will bring back the Ottoman cadi (kadılık) system. This argument was the result of the definition of "mediator" in the draft Mediation Law, which was as follows: "Turkish citizens, who have graduated from a four-year university and received special training for mediators". On the other hand, many people supported the proposed mediation system, based on the expected effectiveness and speed of the procedures as well as the low cost of mediation itself.

The Mediation Law provides for the establishment of a Mediation Board, a Department of Mediation and a Mediators Registry within the Ministry of Justice's General Directorate of Civil Affairs. The purpose of these institutions is to provide uniformity of quality, consistency and a public authority in mediation. In accordance with Provisional Article 1 of the Mediation Law, these institutions were established within two months following the law's publication in the Official Gazette. Currently, the Department of Mediation has started providing licenses to institutions that have submitted applications to provide mediation education to lawyers that seek to become a mediator.

The primary steps for the Mediation Law were taken with an amendment to Article 35A of the Attorneys Law in 2001. Under this article, attorneys may invite the other party in a dispute to negotiations for mediation (i) upon the client's request; (ii) prior to the first hearing if a lawsuit has been filed; or (iii) at any time if a lawsuit has not been filed.

Mediation is defined in Article 2 of the Mediation Law as follows:

"A method of dispute resolution, voluntarily chosen and realized by the participation of an independent and impartial third party having specialized education, who brings the parties together in order to engage in negotiations by practicing systematic methods and who provides the establishment of the communication process between them, permitting them to understand each other and to assure that, in this manner, they find solutions by themselves."

The Mediation Law prescribes a very basic mechanism for mediation. Under the law, the parties may agree to resolve the dispute through mediation before filing a lawsuit or, if a lawsuit has already been filed, they may decide to settle the dispute through mediation at any time prior to the court's rendering its final decision. According to Article 13 of the Mediation Law, the court may also apprise the parties of mediation and encourage them to refer their dispute to a mediator. Unless otherwise agreed, a party's request for mediation will be deemed rejected if this request is not explicitly accepted by the other party within 30 days following the request. Once the request for mediation is accepted, the parties can appoint the mediator(s) with mutual consent, if they have not agreed on any other procedure for the appointment of the mediator(s).

Under the Mediation Law, the mediators are not required to be attorneys, but must have practiced their profession for at least five years subsequent to their graduation from law school. Further, they must pass an exam provided by the Ministry of Justice and be registered with the Mediators Registry, after they attend the mediation education provided by law schools, the Turkish Union of Bar Associations or the Turkish Academy of Justice. Under Article 33 of the Regulation, a written exam will be held twice a year and those who pass this written exam will also be required to pass a practical exam.

The mediator conducts the negotiations with the purpose of reaching a settlement. However, it is important to note that in this system, the mediator is neither empowered to render a decision nor to exercise any kind of judicial powers. The system itself provides a mechanism for the resolution of a dispute by and between the parties; not by a third party. The mediator's only function is to supervise the parties during negotiations.

The Mediation Law is applicable to private law disputes, including those having foreign elements. The practice area of mediation is not restricted; in other words, the parties may apply this alternative dispute resolution method to any kind of dispute, except disputes of a public law nature.

The preamble of the Mediation Law puts forward many advantages of mediation, to be considered within the framework of the Turkish judicial system. First, mediation is an inexpensive solution as the parties will only be obliged to pay fixed fees and stamp duty. Second, it is a time-efficient system (if implemented correctly) for dispute resolution. Finally, this alternative dispute resolution method is expected to decrease the courts' workload.

In addition to the above, there are many additional aspects of mediation that make it preferable for the parties of a dispute, as an alternative to courts or arbitration. One of the most important reasons is confidentiality. Although the mediator is only authorized to lead and supervise the negotiations, he has the right to collect evidence to conduct the process. In this case, the parties are ensured that these documents and materials will remain confidential and if the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, this documentation will not be directly subject to a prospective lawsuit before the courts or an arbitral tribunal. The mediator is obliged to keep any material, statements, evidence, offers and even the admissions undisclosed; so are the parties. These could neither be submitted to the court/arbitral tribunal nor requested by the court or arbitral tribunal as evidence.

It is worth noting that this confidentiality obligation is ensured with a penalty of imprisonment between six months to two years for any person who breaches this obligation, including but not limited to the mediator and his/her clerks, secretary and trainees. The main purpose of this principle is to make the parties feel confident during the negotiation sessions. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, the last paragraph of Article 5 of the Mediation Law provides that admissions, mediation requests, suggestions, acknowledgments and documents that have been prepared only for mediation; and evidence and materials used in the mediation negotiations cannot be submitted as evidence during the course of a lawsuit or an arbitration.

Another important aspect of the Mediation Law is related to the statute of limitations. As stipulated under Article 16 of the Mediation Law, if the parties refer their dispute to a mediator, the statute of limitation for filing the lawsuit before the courts will be suspended. Likewise, if the parties commence mediation procedures subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit, the lawsuit will be suspended for three months. This term can be extended to six months upon the parties' mutual request.

Mediation procedures may be concluded with a settlement, or the parties may terminate the process together or individually without any resolution. If the parties reach a settlement and sign a settlement agreement at the end of the mediation, this settlement agreement can be annotated by the court hearing the enforcement lawsuit in order to be enforceable. This annotated settlement agreement will be deemed directly enforceable and can be enforced through a special enforcement proceeding.

If the mediation system works properly in Turkey, this mechanism will probably be the most preferable alternative for the resolution of disputes arising from commercial relations. Time will tell the extent to which Turkish companies and merchants will accept this dispute resolution method as a good alternative to courts.

1 Published in the Official Gazette numbered 28331 and dated 22 June 2012.

2 Published in the Official Gazette numbered 28540 and dated 26 January 2013.

© Kolcuoğlu Demirkan Attorneys at Law, 2013

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Pinar Bülent
Gökçe İldiri
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gün + Partners
Bezen & Partners
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gün + Partners
Bezen & Partners
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions