Turkey: Job Security Under Turkish Law

Last Updated: 10 October 2013
Article by Burak Eryiğit

One of the most important purposes of labor law is to protect the relationship between an employee and an employer and to secure an employee's job. In order to achieve this purpose, an internationally accepted "job security" concept was born in early 20th century1. The purpose of job security is to protect the employee, the weaker party in an employment relationship, against the employer. In a broad sense, job security means the protection of an employee after the termination of his/her employment agreement by the employer. In a stricter sense, job security means:

  1. employer's obligation to rely on a valid reason or a just cause in terminating the employee's employment agreement;
  2. employee's ability to file a lawsuit after termination;
  3. burden of proof placed on the employer; and
  4. legal consequences in the absence of any valid reason or just cause in termination.

Aside from ratifying the Termination of Employment Convention no. 158 (International Labor Organization - ILO) and United Nations - Declaration of Human Rights, the concept of job security is also guaranteed under the Labor Law2 in Turkey.

I. Scope of Job Security

Job security is governed by Articles 18 – 21 of the Labor Law. To benefit from these provisions, one must be subject to the Labor Law and fulfill the conditions set forth under Article 183, as follows:

  • The terminated employment agreement must have been for an indefinite term.
  • The employment agreement must have been terminated by the employer.
  • There must be at least 30 employees working in the same work place.4
  • The employee must have at least six months of seniority.
  • The employee must not be one of the employer's representatives.5
  • The termination must be unlawful (i.e. not based on a valid reason or just cause6).

Under the concept of job security, an employment agreement must be terminated either with valid reason or just cause, in order for the termination to be lawful. Under Article 18 of the Labor Law, the employer must rely on a valid reason, arising from the employee's adequacy or behavior, or necessities of the undertaking, work place or the work itself, in order for the termination to be valid. An employee's incapability to carry his/her job is considered a valid reason arising from that employee's adequacy. This incapability can be physical or professional. The most common forms of physical incapability are the employee's sickness, age and retirement; and the forms of professional incapability are inefficiency and low performance.

Valid reasons for termination of employment are not listed in the Labor Law. Article 18 lists examples of what cannot be deemed a valid reason. Although the Labor Law does not stipulate clearly what is and what is not a valid reason for termination, the Court of Appeals precedent sets a clear path regarding the issue. The decision of the 9th Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 31 January 2005 states the following:7

"[...] while valid reasons are not causes for immediate termination stipulated under Article 25 of the Labor Law, they are reasons that negatively affect the employee and the normal process of the work place. The reasons arising from the employee's adequacy or behavior can be valid reasons only if they cause problems in the work place. If continuance of the working relationship cannot be expected from the employer within reason, it must be accepted that the termination is based on valid reasons."

Article 25 of the Labor Law lists the just causes for the employer to terminate the employment agreement. Just causes are categorized as health issues, situations contrary to moral rules and good faith, acts of God and employee's absence exceeding the notification period stipulated under Article 17 due to detention or arrest. It is worth emphasizing that only if the employment agreement is terminated based on situations contrary to moral rules and good faith, the employee would be not entitled to severance pay and notice period compensation.

Principle of Ultima Ratio

One of the most important issues for employers to consider is that termination of the employment agreement must be the last resort, even with the existence of a valid reason. If there is another option (e.g. vocational training) other than termination, this option must be tried first. Although this principle is not stipulated under the Labor Law, the Court of Appeals accepts it without exception. The decision of the 9th Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 10 January 2005 states that:8

"[...] if the desired purpose can be reached by a means other than termination, the reason of the termination cannot be accepted as valid reason. Termination must be avoided, if the purpose can be reached by forming flexible working patterns with the employee's consent, using the employee in another job or training the employee vocationally. In short, the principle of 'termination must be the last resort' must be considered."

II. Termination Procedure

Under Article 19 of the Labor Law, a termination notice must be sent to the employee. In this notice, the reason or reasons for termination must be explicitly indicated. If the reason arises from the employee's behavior or adequacy, the employee must be given a chance to defend himself/herself. The important thing here is that the employer is not required to obtain the employee's defense but must give the employee a chance to defend himself/herself. It is worth emphasizing that in the event of termination with just cause, the employer is not even required to give the employee the chance to defend himself. Although it is not obligatory, in any case it is safer to give the employee the chance to defend himself as this may be deemed a requirement during litigation in case the judge decides to consider the cause as valid reason instead of a just cause. On another note, the employer must comply with the notice periods stipulated under the Labor Law for terminating the employment agreement based on valid reason.

To follow the termination procedure stipulated under the Labor Law is as important as the reasons of termination. If the termination procedure is not properly followed, the termination will be deemed unlawful, even if it is done with a valid reason.

III. Consequence of Unlawful Termination / Re-employment Lawsuit

Under Article 20 of the Labor Law, if an indefinite term employment agreement is terminated without indicating any valid reason, or the reason indicated in the termination notice is not a valid reason, the employee is entitled to request his/her re-employment by filing a lawsuit in the labor court or applying to an arbitrator in the event it is envisaged under the employment agreement, within a defined period of time. The re-employment lawsuit must be filed within one month following the date of service of the termination notice. If the employee does not file the lawsuit within one month, the termination will be deemed lawful.9 In a re-employment lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the employer, which means the that employer must prove that the termination was based on a valid reason or a just cause.

The one month duration is a definite term for a re-employment lawsuit and is not the statute of limitation. Therefore, it is taken into account ex officio by the court. In its decision dated 21 May 2005, the 9th Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeals stated that:10

"Under paragraph 1 of Article 20 of the Labor Law numbered 4857 'The employee whose employment agreement is terminated can file a lawsuit within one month following the date of notification before the labor court claiming that any reason is not indicated in the termination notice or the indicated reason is not a valid reason'. This duration is the final term."

After the Lawsuit

Under Article 21 of the Labor Law, if the court accepts the re-employment request (i.e. decides that the termination was unlawful), the employee must apply to the employer within ten days following the service of the finalized decision. On the other hand, the employer must reinstate the employee within one month after his/her application. This invitation must be sincere and unconditional. Otherwise, the employer will have to pay compensation.

If the employee is re-employed, the severance pay and the notice period compensation paid at the time of termination must be reimbursed by the employee. If the employee is not re-employed, the employer must pay job security compensation (from four months wages to eight months wages, based on the court's discretion). This compensation is also called non-re-employment compensation. If severance pay and notice period compensation were not paid at the time of termination, they must be paid as well. In any case, he/she must be compensated with up to four months wages for the time the employee was unemployed.

Termination due to Union Affiliation

Under Article 30 of Unions and Collective Employment Agreement Law11 ("Union Law"), in the event of termination due to the employee's affiliation with a labor union, the employee may file a re-employment lawsuit in accordance with Articles 18, 20 and 21 of the Labor Law. The employee is entitled to union compensation instead of job security compensation, regardless of whether or not he/she is re-employed. The amount of this compensation is at least 12 months wages of the employee.

1 Termination of Employment Convention no. 158 (International Labor Organization), United Nations-Declaration of Human Rights and European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights all stipulates job security provisions.

2 Numbered 4857

3 Under Article 6 of Law No. 5953 (commonly known as Press Labor Law) and Article 116 of the Labor Law, the relationships between journalists and their employers are also subject to job security provisions.

4 This provision may be changed in favor of the employee. The number of employees can be reduced or this condition can be completely abolished (9th Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 26 May 2005, numbered 2005/12317 E., 2005/19404 K.).

5 The employer's representatives and vice representatives, who control the whole business and who control both the whole work place and have the authority to hire and fire employees, cannot benefit from the job security provisions.

6 Last paragraph of Article 25 refers to Article 18 – 20 and 21 in the event of termination in the absence of just cause.

7 9th Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 31 January 2005, numbered 2005/304 E., 2005/2720 K.

8 9th Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 10 January 2005, numbered 2004/23993 E., 2005/408 K.

9 If the termination is based on just cause, severance pay and notice period compensation cannot be claimed. If it is based on valid reason, they must be paid.

10 9th Chamber of the Court of Appeals dated 21 May 2005, numbered 2005/1765 E., 2005/5836 K.

11 Numbered 6356

© 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.

Burak Eryiğit
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Oncel, Aydın, Duman & Uygun Attorney Partnership
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
Oncel, Aydın, Duman & Uygun Attorney Partnership
Related Articles
Related Video
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