Turkey: A Guide To Doing Business In Turkiye: ‘Removing Obstacles to Growth & Creating Jobs’ Part IV

Last Updated: 30 November 2005
Article by Hakan Hanli
This article is part of a series: Click A Guide To Doing Business In Turkiye: ‘Removing Obstacles to Growth & Creating Jobs’ Part III for the previous article.

16. Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Law

a. The Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights ("FSMH")

The purposes of the Law are to prevent piracy and to solve conflicts between collecting societies and users.

The amendments to the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works came into force in March 2004.

This Law includes, inter alia, provisions on internet service providers’ liability and on the protection of sui generis database, and ratification of the Hague Convention on the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Trademark Law Treaty and Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement was completed in April 2004 and came into force as of January 1, 2005.

b. A Law amending Patent Protection was brought into force in June 2004.

The purpose of the Law is to improve the functioning of IPR courts by converting them from commercial courts to civil courts, regularizing criminal sanctions and increasing judicial discretion with regard to criminal punishment.

The Turkish Patent Institute (‘TPE’) established a Consultative Board due to a regulation published in April 2005.

A circular on the Tax loses of the State due to Intellectual and Industrial Rights Piracy and Counterfeiting’ was published by Ministry of Justice. This circular addresses the Office of the Chief Republic Prosecutors to encourage the inter-institutional co-operation within the framework of the Protection of FMSH and prevention of tax losses.

c. Turkiye is also a party to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS").

d. The Law on the Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits has in force since April 2004.

17. Right to Privacy and Data Privacy Law

The ‘Right to Privacy’ is enshrined in the Turkish Constitution (‘Anayasa’) which refers to the respect of personal and family life.

‘Communication liberty, privacy of communication and private life’ subjects are arranged under the Constitution of the Republic of Turkiye with articles 20 and 22.

The Penal Code includes a provision prohibiting ‘the violation of private life, including a tougher minimum sentence where such a violation involves covert sound recording’.

The New Penal Code includes a provision stating that; ‘a penalty of imprisonment will be imposed on persons who illegally record personal information data on political, philosophical or religious opinions, racial origins, illegal moral tendencies, the sexual lives or health conditions of others, or their relations to Trade Unions’.

Turkiye also signed the Council of Europe Convention regarding ‘the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data’ on 1981, although it has not yet ratified it. Turkiye will set up an ‘Independent Data-Protection Supervisory Authority’.

However, the only legislation in force regarding Data Privacy is arranged under the Law (numbered 25475, dated 28.05.2004) and the regulation regarding ‘the The Process to be applied in Consultancy Services Tenders in scope of the 4046 numbered Law’ regarding the Application Privatization Processes concerning ‘the data room process’.

Meanwhile, with regard to the adjustment to EU acquis, the studies of a draft Law by the Ministry of Justice regarding ‘the Protection of Personal Data’ are still pending.

18. Culture and Audio-Visual Policy and Law

a. Audiovisual Policy

In the area of Audiovisual Policy, new regulation concerning Radio and Television Broadcasts in Languages and Dialects Traditionally used by Turkish Citizens came into force in January 2004, replacing a regulation of 2002 that was never implemented.

b. Broadcasting Policy

The new regulation extends to nation-wide TV and radio the possibility of broadcasting in languages other than Turkish. Previously, only the Public Service Broadcaster, Turkish Radio and Television ("TRT"), was permitted to do so.

However, such broadcasts can only cover news, music and cultural programs for adults and broadcasting time is limited.

c. Authority

Local and regional broadcasters will only be able to apply to broadcast in other languages at a later stage, following completion of a survey on the use of local languages in all regions of Turkiye, to be carried out under the Supervision of the Regulatory Body ("RTUK").

d. Culture

In the area of culture, Turkiye has expressed interest in participating in the EC-Culture 2000 program and negotiations are under way with a view to its participation in 2005.

19. Information Society and Media Policy and Law

a. Electronic Communication

This acquis includes specific rules on electronic communications, information society services, in particular electronic commerce and conditional access services, and audio-visual services.

In the field of electronic communications services, legislation aims to:

  • eliminate obstacles to the effective operation of the internal market in telecommunication services and networks;
  • promote competition; and
  • safeguard consumer interests in the sector.

b. Audio-Visual Policy

In the field of audio-visual policy, the EU legislation requires legislative alignment with the Television without Frontiers Directive, which creates the conditions necessary for the free television broadcasts within the EU.

EU legislation aims to establish a transparent, predictable, and effective regulatory framework for public and private broadcasting in line with European standards and also to require the capacity to participate in EU Programs ‘Media Plus and Media Training’.

c. Mobile Telephony and Internet

Turkiye’s electronic communications market is quite large with a volume of EUR8.7 billion and has a significant potential for growth in all sectors. With regard to full liberalization, the Turkish market has been open for competition since January 2004 through the abolition of the de jure monopoly of Turk Telecom (‘TT’).

As regards fixed telephony, sixteen (16) data transmission service providers have been granted licenses. The market for mobile services has been open to competition since 1994 and currently there are two mobile phone 900 operators (‘TURKCELL’ and ‘TELSIM’) and one phone 1800 operator (‘AVEA’) active in the market.

The penetration rate in the mobile services market has reached 58% as of July 2005 with 40.4 million subscribers. The communication tax, imposed on fixed and mobile telephony, remains high.

For fixed telephony, a communication tax of 15% above the 18% VAT is still applicable, as is the 25% communication tax for mobile telephony.

After the introduction of broadband (‘ADSL’) in Turkiye, the number of subscribers for internet services has significantly reaching 720.000 in May 2005. Accordingly, the penetration rate for internet access has increased to 14%. For cable TV, the rate of subscription has increased by 6%.

d. Cable TV

The Cable TV services of Turk Telekom have been unbundled and transferred to the Public Enterprise in charge of Satellite Services (‘TURKSAT’ Incorporation).

e. Universal Services

A law on the provision of Universal Services has been adopted. Related regulations are in preparation by the Turkish Telecommunication Authority (‘Telekomunikasyon Kurumu’ or ‘TK’) which deals with economic regulation work for the implementation of the 2003 framework and for the development of competition.

The Ministry of Transport is responsible for policy making.

f. Electronic Signature

Further to the enactment of the Law on Electronic Signature, implementing legislation on Procedures and Principles pertaining to the implementation of electronic signature law and process and technical criteria regarding electronic signature has been enacted in 2005.

Turkiye also had the foresight to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and to align its legislation with such EU legislation.

g. Media

A new Press Law was adopted in June 2004.

20. Industrial and Enterprise Policy and Law

The Turkish Government adopted its Industrial Policy for Turkiye, which is a medium-term policy paper laying out a general framework for industrial policy. It covers the present situation, the institutional framework, objectives, policies and related measures, in particular for the manufacturing industry.

The main objective of industrial policy in Turkiye is to increase competitiveness and productivity to promote and maintain sustainable growth, based on an outward-oriented approach to face increased global competition. Turkiye presented the implementation report on this policy in July 2004.

The government tried to privatize the alcohol and tobacco production facilities of TEKEL separately. While the sale of its alcohol production facilities was completed in February 2004, the privatization of TEKEL’s tobacco factories was cancelled since the highest bid received was deemed inadequate.

The state-owned mobile phone operator ("AYCELL") was merged by government decision with one of Turkiye’s private mobile operators. Furthermore, a law concerning the privatization of Turk Telekom was adopted in June 2004. This law annulled the previous provision which had limited foreign investors’ eventual share to up to 45% after privatization.

There has been some weak progress concerning the restructuring of the Turkish Steel Industry.

21. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises ("SMEs") Policy

Turkiye made progress on SMEs Policy by the adoption of an SMEs Strategy and Action Plan by the Turkish Government in November 2003.

The strategy document is a medium-term policy paper drawing a general framework for SMEs in line with the enterprise and entrepreneurship policy of the EC, such as the European Charter for Small Enterprises and the Multi-Annual Program for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

Turkiye launched the "e-Transformation Turkiye" project, which contains several actions on information society strategy, technical infrastructure and information security, education and human resources, legislative infrastructure, standards, e-Government and e-Commerce.

These actions are all aimed at facilitating the access and operations of SMEs in the areas concerned.

Turkiye has made significant progress on access to finance for SMEs, based on the improvement in macroeconomic conditions. Many public and private banks have launched special SME loan facilities, some of them funded by national and international donors.

The Turkish Government signed a US$470 million loan facility agreement with the EIB and a US$300 million facility with the World Bank to support SMEs.

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkiye (‘TOBB’) and the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (‘KOSGEB’) transferred US$230 million to public banks. This money will be used to extend credit to SMEs.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange ("IMKB") launched two new markets for SME the ‘Second National Market’ and the ‘New Economy Market’.

Private banks in general have started to look at SMEs as clients, due to reduced activity in trading government bonds after the considerable decrease in interest rates.

22. Research and Development ("R&D") Policy

Turkiye continues to be associated with the Sixth EC Framework Program for Research and Technological Development.

An amendment to the law of the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council ("TUBITAK"), giving temporary authority to the Prime Minister to appoint the president and science council members of TUBITAK, came into force in December 2003.

Based on this amendment, the Prime Minister appointed six members, whose posts had been vacant since September 2003, to the science council. These six members in turn appointed the president of the council. However, the main opposition party brought the matter before the Constitutional Court, which suspended implementation of the amendment.

A decree regulating the procedure for procurement of goods and services by TUBITAK and its institutions for research and technological development purposes was ratified by the cabinet and published in the Turkish Official Gazette in April 2004.

The Ministry of Finance issued a regulation in April 2004 regulating the financial and accounting problems encountered by public institutions, universities in particular, concerning the use of EU funds under the Sixth Framework Program for research and technological development.

TUBITAK initiated a support program, namely "The Career Program", which aims to encourage young researchers, who have just completed their doctorate studies and are at the beginning of their careers, to become scientists. Moreover, TUBITAK continues to provide financial support for international scientific meetings, for the encouragement of international scientific publications and for project applicants under the Sixth Framework Program.

The Turkish Technology Development Foundation continued to provide financial support for technology development projects. The budget of TUBITAK has increased by 35% in 2004 due to an increase in its activities.

Following Turkiye’s representation in the Joint Research Center’s board of governors and Turkiye’s participation in the Sixth Framework Program, a number of Turkish scientists have started to benefit from the research opportunities offered by the Joint Research Centre ("JRC"). Currently, twelve Turkish partner institutions cooperate with eight research networks of the Joint Research Centre of the Commission.

23. Environmental Policy and Law

The Environment policy aims to promote sustainable development and protect the environment for present and future generations.

It is based on preventive action, the polluter pays principle, fighting environmental damage at source, shared responsibility and the integration of environmental protection into other Turkish policies.

a. Air Quality

A new regulation on Environmental Impact Assessment and a law and an implementing regulation on access to information were adopted. Turkiye ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

A regulation on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and legislation on the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars were adopted. In addition, a communiqué on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels was enacted in June 2004.

A regulation on precautionary measures against emissions from engines using diesel and pressurized petrol gases was amended.

b. Pollution Abatement

A Law was adopted on pollution abatement from disposal and trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste in the Mediterranean Sea. The legislation was also adopted on packaging waste, construction waste including excavation soil and rubble control, waste oils, and on management of waste collection facilities in ports and harbors, and on batteries and accumulators.

c. Water Quality

A regulation was adopted on the protection of water resources against nitrates.

d. Protection of Nature and Environmental Noise

Some progress has been made in the field of the noise sector and nature protection. An implementing regulation concerning the assessment and management of environmental noise was adopted.

f. Forestry

A communiqué related to the implementation of the national plan to combat desertification was issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and National Forestry Strategy was developed.

24. Transport Policy and Law

a. The Trans-European Transport Networks

Preparations for a Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment ("TINA") study for Turkiye are currently being undertaken. This study will serve as the basis for the identification of the future network.

b. Land Transport

Turkiye progressed in the development of road transport legislation. Following the adoption of the Road Transport Framework Law in July 2003, a road transport regulation was adopted in February 2004 setting forth implementation rules concerning road transport activities, including licensing procedures, and setting out the rights and obligations of road transport operators and vehicle requirements.

The Ministry of Transport revised the implementing legislation regulating road transport on various aspects of the licensing requirements in December 2004 and February 2005.

c. Railways

Turkiye has also made progress in this field. An ambitious Rail Transport Action Plan for the restructuring of the railway sector by 2008, which also sets out ‘a road map’ was adopted.

d. Air Carriers

Privately owned Turkish air-carriers started scheduled domestic flights, including to and from Istanbul, contributing to the end of the State-owned operator’s de facto monopoly in the domestic scheduled flights. Aviation Requirements and EUROCONTROL standards on implementing regulations progressed and an autonomous accident investigation unit remains to be established.

e. Maritime Transport Action Plan

A Maritime Transport Action Plan for the enhancement of maritime safety was adopted in December 2003. Implementing legislation on classification societies and port reception facilities was adopted in October 2003 and March 2004, respectively.

The Maritime Administration has recruited some 80 new staff as Port State Control and Flag State Implementation officers. According to statistics for 2003, under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding, the percentage of Turkish flag vessels detained following port State control was 17.5%, a further decrease compared to the two previous years (2002: 18.8%; 2001: 24.5%). This compares with an average for EU-flagged vessels of 2.76% in 2003 and 3.996 % in 2004.

Turkiye has fulfilled its International obligations under the SOLAS Convention and ISPS Code in the maritime security.

25. Energy Policy and Law

Turkish Energy Policy objectives include the improvement of competitiveness, security of energy supply, and the protection of the environment.

a. Security of Supply

A Turkish Oil Stocks Commission with relevant competencies was established in 2005. Turkiye has essentially aligned itself with EU acquis on the security of supply.

Turkiye is obliged to hold minimum oil stocks equivalent to 90 days of annual consumption in accordance with requirements of the International Energy Agency (‘IEA’).

In order to strengthen its security of energy supply, Turkiye has continued its efforts to diversify resources and routes and to strengthen its role as a transit country for oil and gas from the Caspian Basin and the Middle East to the EU.

The construction of the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan Gas Pipeline is progressing further with a view to being operational by November 2005.

Withregard to the Turkiye-Greece Agreement for the construction of a Gas Inter-Connector of February 2003, BOTAS and DEPA, the Turkish and Greek gas companies, signed a natural gas sales and purchase agreement in December 2003. Construction of the inter-connector started in July 2005 and should be completed in 2006.

Turkiye has supported the planned "NABUCCO" Gas Pipeline Project (Turkiye-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria) for which the Caspian Basin, including Iran, could also be a supplier and is collaborating with the Mashreq countries in the project to bring natural gas from Egypt, Syria and eventually, when conditions permit, from Iraq to the EU.

A new South Caucasus Gas Pipeline (Baku-Tibilisi-Erzurum) is expected to become operational by the end of 2006.

These will also reduce the burden of dangerous materials carried through the Turkish Straits.

Turkiye has no synchronous inter-connection to the Western European Electricity networks, and energy trade is limited. Progress has been made in co-operation with the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Energy, as well as on the construction of the Babaeski-Filippi link with Greece.

b. Internal Energy Market

A new Petroleum Law was adopted in December 2003. In addition, the Law empowers the Energy Market Regulatory Authority ("EMRA") to regulate and supervise the petroleum products market. EMRA is also a member of the European Commission that will oversee implementation of the oil stockholding requirements of the Law.

With regard to the Competitiveness and the Internal Energy Market, in March 2004, the High Planning Council adopted an Electricity Sector strategy paper with a road map aimed at sector reform, including privatization. Privatization of generation assets is envisaged to start in 2006, while that of the distribution sector is planned to be completed by mid-2006.

The strategy also entails a further market opening plan as follows: current market opening of 29% (eligible customers being those consuming more than 7.7 GWh per annum) will remain until the beginning of 2009; after 2009, and in light of developments in the security of supply, the market will gradually be opened up in order to reach full market opening by 2011.

Regarding legislation, steps have focused on further improvement to implementing legislation on the Electricity Market Law, including licensing and tariff regulations. Despite the 2003 initiative launched by the Electricity Distribution Company ("TEDAS") to tackle the problem of unpaid bills, losses in distribution (technical losses and theft) remain high at approximately 24% of the electricity generated in 2004.

Turkiye signed the Athens Memorandum designed to create Regional Electricity and Natural Gas Markets in South-East Europe along the lines of internal energy market principles in December 2003. Partner countries are currently developing this Memorandum into a legally binding Energy Community Treaty in South East Europe.

c. Energy Efficiency

Turkiye should as a matter of priority adopt an Energy Efficiency Framework Law, as a basis for legal alignment to the EU legislation and to reduce the high energy intensity of the Turkish economy.

d. Renewable Energy Sources

The law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Electricity Generation was adopted in May 2005, establishing the necessary legal framework for the promotion of renewable energy. This law provides transitional arrangements until 2011 for more competitive prices for the electricity generated from plants that have a renewable energy source certificate, and other incentives for investment in renewables.

e. Nuclear Energy

Turkiye currently does not operate any nuclear power plants.

26. Fisheries Policy and Law

The EU acquis on fisheries consists of regulations, which do not require transposition into national legislation.

However, it requires the introduction of measures to prepare the administration and the operators for participation in the EU Common Fisheries Policy (‘CFP’).

The EU CFP covers:

  • market policy,
  • resource and fleet management,
  • inspection and control,
  • structural actions, and
  • state aid control.

In some cases, existing Fisheries Agreements and Conventions with Third Countries or International Organizations have been adopted by Turkiye.

With regard to market policy, the amendment to the implementing regulation on Fishery Wholesale and Retail Sales Markets was published in the Official Gazette on July 14, 2004.

The amendment envisages stricter hygiene, storage, transportation and sales standards for new wholesale and retail sales markets.

With regard to International Fisheries Agreements, Turkiye became a full member of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna ("ICCAT") in September 2003.

Turkiye is already a member of several regional and international organizations: the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission and EUROFISH.

A number of fishery products cooperatives have been merged into a Central Union. Producer organizations play an important role in the stabilization of market prices and the uniform application of marketing standards.

The administrative structures of the fisheries sector remain spread across several departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and different state bodies.

27. Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Program

a. Reform Implementation Project

Since 2001, Turkiye has been implementing an Agricultural Reform Program, the Agricultural Reform Implementation Project (‘ARIP’) with support from the World Bank (‘WB’). This project has been extended for the period 2005-2007.

Turkiye adopted an Agricultural Strategy which indicates the strategic objectives and instruments of agricultural support in the period 2006-2010 in December 2004. This Strategy paper will form the basis of the Agricultural Framework Law.

b. Horizontal Issues

In recent years, Turkiye pursued the Agricultural Reform Program and goes against the directions of the Common Agricultural Policy as reformed in 2003 and 2004. As far as horizontal issues are concerned, Turkiye has made some progress in aligning its legislation with that of the EU. However, Turkiye has recently begun work on building an EU-style agency, in the context of the Instrument for the Pre-Accession Assistance (‘IPA’).

c. Integrated Administration and Control System (‘IACS’)

Turkiye progressed in the context of an EU-funded Pre-Accession project. Due to start this year, this project will use pilot projects to test different methods of building the Land Parcel Identification System (‘LIPS’) and identify the legal and institutional developments required for a functioning IACS system.

d. Farm Accountancy Data Network (‘FADN’)

The New Framework Law concerning organic farming was adopted by the TBMM in December 2004. The law stipulates the production methods for organic products and lays down the responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affaires.

It provides for control and certification services, import and export rules, and the advertising of organic products. A Farm Accountancy Data Network will be established.

e. Economic and Trade Indicators

Agriculture remains one of the most important sectors in the Turkish economy. In 2003, its contribution to the total GDP accounted for 12.2%. Since 1983, the share of agriculture has declined from 21.4% to 12.2% in 2003.

In terms of employment, the agriculture sector (including forestry, hunting and fisheries) represented about 33% of the whole labor force in 2003, equivalent to some 7 million workers, as compared to 35% in 2001 and 34% in 2002.

The number of agricultural holdings has decreased by 25% over the last ten years, from 4 million in 1991 to 3 million in 2001. The 2001 census also recorded an average farm size of around 6 ha and indicated that about 65% of farmers have less than 5 ha of land. Only 6% of holdings are larger than 20 ha of land.

In 2003, overall agricultural trade between Turkiye and the EU saw a small increase. Turkiye’s exports to the EU-15 grew from US$3,780 million in 2002 to US$3,850 million, while its imports from the EU increased from US$1,825 million in 2002 to US$1,945 million.

EU-15 imports were again dominated by fruit and nuts, followed by vegetable and fruit preparations. Key areas of EU-15 exports were tobacco, cereals and animal and vegetable fats.

The limited levels of agricultural trade between Turkiye and the 10 new European Member States fell somewhat, with Turkiye maintaining its relatively large surplus (exports US$240 million; imports US$55 million).

f. Technical Barriers and Infringements

A number of complaints have been received from EU companies concerning technical barriers to trade and infringements of the Customs Union or Association Agreement.

A ban on imports of livestock and meat products remains in place. The ban on certain energy drinks was lifted by the adoption of a new Communiqué in March 2004.

28. Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy and Law

a. The General Foodstuffs Policy

This policy sets hygiene rules for foodstuff production. Furthermore, EU legislation provides detailed rules in the veterinary field, which are essential for safeguarding animal health, welfare and the safety of food of animal origin in the internal market.

In the phytosanitary field, EU rules cover issues such as quality of seed, plant protection material, harmful organisms and animal nutrition.

In General Foodstuffs Policy, Turkiye has progressed in transposition and implementation of the food safety rules. On the administrative capacity for control measures, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has substantially increased the number of food inspectors in 2005 and carries out regional training courses. Communiqués on wine, alcohols, milk, and milk products have come into force.

b. Turkish Food Law

This law is progressing to bring it into line with the EU legislation in the Framework of a New Food and Veterinary Package. The law has transferred the competences of the Ministry of Health on ‘Food Safety and Control’ to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affair.

Turkish legislation is mostly in line with the EU legislation regarding labeling, presentation and advertising, additives and purity criteria and extraction solvents. Turkiye has also harmonized its legislation relating to food for particular nutritional uses and the hygiene and official control areas.

A Turkish regulation related to the on market control of foodstuffs and packaging material was brought into force in March 2005.

c. The Veterinary Policy

The preparatory technical work will continue. In the meantime, Turkiye made progress, in the areas of:

  • the identification and registration of animals,
  • the implementation of the financing of veterinary inspection and controls,
  • veterinary checks on third country imports and rules for imports, and
  • animal diseases control measures.

d. Turkish Phytosanitary Policy

This policy progressed in the transposition and implementation of EU acquis, such that Turkiye made progress with regard to:

  • the quality of seeds and propagating material,
  • plant health (Communiqué on the maximum residue limits of plant protection products in foodstuffs in January 2005),
  • plant hygiene,
  • the area of animal nutrition, Communiqués came into force as follows:
  • on the production, export, import, sale and use of feed additives and premixes in January 2005,
  • on the undesirable substances in feed in February 2005, and
  • on the materials whose addition to compound feed and use for animal nutrition purposes is prohibited in June 2005.

e. Turkiye has initiated the official procedures for accession to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (‘UPOV’).

29. Education and Training Policy and Program

The progress has been made by the Turkish National Authorities and the Turkish National Agency concerning participation in Community Programs: Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, and Youth.

Turkiye has completed the necessary preparatory measures and has participated fully in the programs since April 2004.

The Turkish National Agency has developed its implementation capacity in terms of both staff and infrastructure and the first experiences of program implementation have been largely satisfactory.

A law concerning the Education of the Children of Migrant Workers is being implemented.

With regard to reforming the education and training system, there has been impressive progress in the enrolment of girls, particularly in the south-eastern regions and eastern Anatolia, with the support of UNICEF and EU-funded education programs.

The right to education of children, in particular of girls, is not respected in some regions, and school attendance is particularly low in rural areas of the South-East.

The Ministry of National Education adopted standard curricula based on the International Standard Classification of Education with the support of EU-funded Vocational Education and Training ("VET") programs, which cover both initial and continuing education throughout a person’s life, including both formal and non-formal education.

An amendment to the Constitution was introduced in May 2004 regarding the composition of the Board of the Council for Higher Education.

As a result, General Staff will no longer be authorized to appoint a representative to the Board.

30. Consumers and Health Protection Policy and Law

The Consumer Protection EU acquis covers the safety of consumer goods, as well as the protection of the economic interests of consumers in a number of specific sectors.

EU Member States need to:

  • transpose EU acquis into their National Law,
  • put into place independent administrative structures and enforcement powers which allow for effective market surveillance and enforcement.

Turkiye made progress in the area of consumer and health protection.

a. Safety Related Measures: The Law on the Preparation and Implementation of Technical legislation on Products, which transposed the EC General product Safety Directive (92/59/EEC) to a large extent in 2001, continues to constitute the Regulatory Framework in Turkiye.

This directive lays down the common basic principles on Product Safety for all kinds of product.

b. Market Surveillance Strategy (‘MSS’)

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the main body in charge of the New Approach Directives in Turkiye. It has local inspectorates in all 81 cities of Turkiye.

It has prepared and started its strategy in the various fields.

The MSS also covered products under the scope of low voltage, electromagnetic compatibility, machinery, textiles, labeling of footwear, energy labeling of household appliances, pressure equipment, simple pressure vessels, hot water boilers and gas appliances.

The Ministry of Public Works and Settlement prepared and started to implement a market surveillance strategy on construction products.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security prepared and began implementation of a market surveillance strategy on the personal protective equipment.

The Telecommunication Authority has proceeded further with organizing and implementing market surveillance work on a pilot scale.

The Ministry of Health will prepare and start to implement a market surveillance strategy on toys, medical devices and detergents.

The Under-Secretariat of Maritime Affairs published a regulation on the MSS in February 2005, laying down its strategy concerning recreational crafts.

A web-based online information channel was created, which provides notifications on dangerous products between National Authorities and Customs.

c. Arbitration Committees and Consumer Courts

One of the most important developments within the new law was to grant legally binding status to the decisions of the arbitration committees for disputes under a certain amount.

In 2003, 31,582 consumer complaints were made to 931 Arbitration Committees all over Turkiye. 86% of the decisions were reported as in favor of the consumers.

The Arbitration Committees which play a crucial role in the settlement of disputes have been strengthened through intensive training seminars on the new consumer law and regulations.

In addition to four specialized Consumer Courts operating in Istanbul (6), Ankara (7) and Izmir (3), a new specialized consumer court has been established in Adana (1), Antalya (1), Bursa (1) and Kayseri (1), which are also operational.

Turkish authorities have placed additional emphasis on enforcement and implementation of the new law through the organization of intensive training especially targeted at the arbitration committee members, organizing a total of 36 training seminars in all 81 provinces.

d. Consumer Organizations

Consumer organizations are represented in the Consumer Council. This is a consultative structure set up in 1995.

The role of consumer organizations has been developed by granting locus standi (the right to bring a legal action) and by ensuring involvement in the discussions concerning the definition of the rules for granting financial support to consumer organizations by the Ministry.

e. Public Health

In the field of Tobacco control, Turkiye has significantly progressed in aligning with EU legislation. A Directive concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products has been transposed and published in January 2005.

This Directive will come into force in January 2006 and contains a temporary derogation to the date of application of the maximum tar yield of cigarettes manufactured and marketed.

The World Health Organization (‘WHO’) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which supplements the provisions of EC Directive (2003/33/ECC) was ratified by Turkiye in December 2004. This Convention provides a framework for tobacco control measures to protect the public from the health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The Ministry of Health is closely following up WHO strategies for the elimination of measles in Turkiye.

With regard to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Turkiye continues to be a low prevalence country. The cumulative number of cases reported since 1985 is 1371 for HIV positive and 551 for AIDS.

Turkiye harmonized the list of modifiable diseases under the existing surveillance system and set up the Epidemiological Surveillance and control of communicable diseases network under EC Directives (2000/96/ECC and 2003/534/EC).

A Directive for the notification system of communicable diseases was published in the Turkish Official Gazette in November 2004.

31. Regional and Structural Policy and Law

a. Legislative Framework

The TBMM approved the Municipalities Law (Law No. 5215) on July 9, 2004, and the Metropolitan Municipalities Law (Law No. 5216) on July 10, 2004. Both laws are intended to re-organize the structure, duties and responsibilities of municipalities.

On July 22, 2004, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer approved the Metropolitan Municipalities Law and sent the Municipalities Law back to the TBMM for revision. On July 23, 2004, the Metropolitan Municipalities Law was published in the Republic of Turkiye Official Gazette.

b. Territorial Organization

For statistical purposes, Turkiye grouped its 81 cities (NUTS III level regions) to create 26 new NUTS II regions in 2002.

c. Institutional Framework

Turkiye Regional Policy is narrow, as responsibility for planning, programming implementation and monitoring remains concentrated within the State Planning Organization (‘DPT’).

Under the Implementation of EU Structural Funds, Turkiye made progress in strengthening collaboration between sectoral and regional departments within the DPT, which is an important element for the determination of investment strategies.

d. Administrative Capacity

The principal institution in the implementation of the EU-Funded Regional Development Programs is the Central Finance and Contracts Unit, which is responsible for all procurement and contracting issues related to regional programs.

32. Statistics and Classification

The EU acquis of statistics requires the existence of a statistical infrastructure based on principles such as:

  • impartiality,
  • reliability,
  • transparency,
  • confidentiality of individual data, and
  • dissemination of official statistics.

Turkish State Statistic Institutes (‘DIE’) is acting as reference and anchor points for the methodology, production and dissemination of statistical information.

The DIE has made progress over the past years in the following areas:

a. The Statistical Infrastructure

The New Statistical Law is under development. This law aims to:

  • strengthen the co-ordination role of the DIE within the Turkish Statistical System,
  • determine the principle of confidentiality of individual data,
  • regulate planning activities and dissemination policy, and
  • define the appointment procedures for the President of the DIE.

26 Regional Statistical Offices have been established and equipped with some financial and human resources in order to have one office for each Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (‘NUTS’) 2 - digit region.

b. Classifications

The Turkish version of Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the EU Revision 1.1 (‘NACE Rev. 1.1’) is being progressively used for the business register and other surveys.

A translation of the EU Industrial and Services Nomenclature for 2004 and 2005 was prepared A National version for the International Standard Classification of Education (‘ISCED’). The Turkish version of PRODCOM 2002 and 2003 (product classification) was published both as a book and as a CD.

c. The Sector Statistic: Turkiye has made progress in selected priority areas:

i. Demographic and Social statistics:

  • Labor Force Survey, and
  • Income and Living Conditions.

ii. Regional statistics:

  • Inventory of available Regional data was developed, and
  • Urban audit data compiled.

iii. Macro-Economic statistics:

  • National Accounts for the implementation of the European System of Accounts (‘ESA 95’) have been achieved.
  • UN System of National Accounts moves to ESA 95.

iv. Business statistics:

  • The Business register being set up is based upon NACE Rev 1.1.
  • Tax registers are regularly checked to update the business register (Business Census)

v. Environmental and Transport statistics: Rail transport data is compiled according to EU standards.

vi. External Trade statistics: A good level of compliance has been achieved for the system measuring Trade with Third Countries. New indices were published in early 2005.

vii. Agricultural statistics: Preparations for a livestock and crop production survey including viticulture, in line with EU Standards, were started in 2005.

Turkiye has incorporated some areas (i.e. Labor Cost Survey, Farm Structure Survey) into the data collection mechanisms of the European Statistical System (‘ESS’).

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.

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This article is part of a series: Click A Guide To Doing Business In Turkiye: ‘Removing Obstacles to Growth & Creating Jobs’ Part III for the previous article.
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