Turkey: Turkish Public Procurement Law In Practice

Last Updated: 26 April 2018
Article by Sahin Ardiyok and İlker Fatih Kıl

The importance of the PPA

The public procurement system has great importance in terms of effective use of public resources considering the public procurements' 24% share in the gross domestic product of Turkey.1 In order to attract privite investments, there is no doubt that an effective public procurement system must be transparent, competitive and reliable. These requirements satisfied by the 4734 numbered Public Procurement Act (PPA), which complies with the EU acquis. In addition to all this, the PPA also employs the principles of equal treatment, confidentiality, public supervision and efficient use of resources.  Moreover, the PPA not only includes the general principles of public procurements, procurement procedures and rules regarding the enforcement of tenders, it also establishes the Public Procemerent Authority, which is an administratively and financialy independent authority and the main regulatory body in the public procurement market. In short, we may say that PPA governs the pre-contract periods.

On the other hand, the 4735 numbered Public Procurement Contrats Act involves the principles and procedures that pertain to making and implementing public procurement contracts under the public procurement law.

In principle, the rules of PPA govern the procurement process of goods, services and the construction works of the public agencies. We should state that even though there are too many exemptions listed in the PPA, the scope of this article is restricted with presenting the main legal structure of public procurements, since we do not want to distract the reader with all those exemptions. However, being an administrative action, all those exemptions  are also subject to judicial review, and, in practice, the administrative courts apply the general rules and principles of PPA to them.

The Scope of PPA

The procurement of goods, works and services, the cost of which is covered by any kind of resources that are at the disposal of the contracting entities mentioned below, shall be executed in accordance with the provisions of PPA:

  • Departments included in the general budget, annexed budget, special provincial administrations and municipalities and their related revolving funds organizations, associations, legal entities.
  • State economic enterprises, consisting of public corporations and state economic establishments,
  • Social security establishments, funds, entities of legal personalities that are established in accordance with special laws and that are assigned with public duties (except for professional organizations and foundation institutions of higher education) and establishments with independent budgets,
  • Any institutions, organizations, associations, enterprises and corporations where more than half of their capital, directly or indirectly, together or separately are owned by those stated above.
  • The construction tenders of banks within Law No: 4603. (Ziraat Bank, Halk Bank and Emlak Bank).

In fact, TCDD's Ankara- İzmir High Speed Train Project initiated on November 14, 2017, İSKİ's Silahtarağa Advenced Biological Waste Water Treatment Plant Construction Project and the construction of İstanbul Enerji Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş Seymen Energy Generation Plant are just  a few recent examples of the tenders initiated pursuant to the PPA.

The Main Public Procurement Methods

Even though the PPA was amended several times in order to comply with the EU acquis and social changes, the main characteristic of the act has been reserved.2 In this context, PPA defines three main types of procurement which are;

  • Open tender procedure
  • Restricted tender procedure
  • Negotiated tendering procedure

On the other hand, exceptional situations defined in the PPA a public agency may get its requirements by direct procurement. We should address that direct procurement is simply purchasing of the requirement at the market price. Pursuant to PPA an assigned official should do market price research.

The first method is an open tender procedure, which is the most common procedure where all the tenderers submit their tenders in accordance with the PPA. In addition, in the restricted tender procedure only the ones who meet the minimum requirements of the qualification criteria are allowed to participate to the tender process. The negotiated tendering procedure shall be applied to the specific circumstances defined in the PPA such as immediate situations or in the situations where there is no valid tender under other procedures, etc. Finally, the public agencies exceptionally may directly supply their requirements in the limited situations defined in the PPA. Briefly, the choice of procedure depends on the nature of the requirements and the volume of the work.

We should state that regardless of which method is chosen, the public procurement process until the signing of the contract is governed by administrative law. In other words, any conflict arising from the public procurement process is subject to the judicial review before the state courts.

Public Procurement Authority

Public Procurement Authority (Authority) of Turkey, which was established in 2002 with the enactment of PAA, is a regulatory and supervisory body with its power of secondary legislations over public procurements.  Authority is assigned and authorized for the accurate implementation of the principles and procedures specified in PPA. Under the PPA, the main responsibilities of the Authority are regulations, dispute resolutions, international relations, monitoring and the establishing of an e-procurement system. Authority has a linkage to the Ministry of Treasury, though, it does not restrict the Authority's independency from any authority while fulfillment of its duties.

The decision organ of the Authority shall be the Public Procurement Board, consisting of nine members including one chairperson, and one secondary chairperson. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the Council of Ministers upon the proposal of the Ministry of Treasury.

Additionally, one of its outstanding duty is to evaluate and conclude any complaints of the related parties regarding the proceedings carried out by the tendering public agency. Let's take a look to the complaint process in the public procurement process.

Complaint Process

A tenderer, potential tenderer or anyone who thought he has loss of a right related to the tender for non-compliance with the PPA may submit its objection to the contracting agency within the time period described in the PPA. The contracting agency may approve the complaint and re-correct its administrative act or may reject the complaint. In case of rejection, the plaintiff may appeal against the decision of the contracting agency to the Public Procurement Authority.

After the reviewing of the appeal file Authority may;

  • Order the termination of the procurement process in case of the violation of PPA
  • Determine a corrective action in suitable cases
  • Reject the application in cases where the application does not comply with related procedural rules or where no violation is determined

We should address that likewise all the other administrative acts, the decision of the Authority is subjected to the judicial review before the state courts.

According to the public procurement monitoring report 2017 of the Authority, in 2017, 135260 tenders were made and 20.161 of them had been nullified afterward3. The nullification of the one in six tenders shows us that the public procurement area might be deemed as a stage for a tough legal battle.

In addition to this, the increase in the usage of "Electronic Public Procurement Platform" (EPPP) or in other word, electronization of the public procurement process creates an inevitable efficiency and transparency. Let's touch briefly to the EPPP.

Electronic Public Procurement Platform

There is an electronic registration system called "Electronic Platform of Public Procurement" ("EPPP") which the bidders shall submit in the required information and documentation during the steps of the procurement process. Public Procurement Agency is authorized to determine the methods and principles regarding the use of EPPP. Beyond any doubt EPPP is a fruitful tree. First of all, it is an effective tool to implement the main principles of PPA such as transparency and public supervision. Second, it promotes; standardization of the process, speed of the transactions and the coherency.  Third, EPPP is a cost-effective platform considering that it led up to 20 percentage saving in the procurement costs. Finally, yet importantly, EPPP and its transparent process eliminate the corruption perception of the public over the procurement process.

According to the EPPP statics as of 2017, announced tender number is 86.900, notified contract number is 480.507 and the number of the entity who are not allowed to bid to the tenders is 1.933.5984.


Public procurements have an important share (approximately 20 percentage) in the gross domestic products of Turkey. Therefore, the process should be transparent, competitive and reliable. The legislative framework of the process envisaged by the enactment of the PPA and an Public Procurement Authority authorized to monitor the procurement process of goods, services and the construction works of the public agencies. Even though, the procurement methods determined in the PPA, there are a lot of exemptions which we did not prefer to mention here considering the scope of the work. Thus, we would like to inform the reader regarding the basic procedures of the public procurement process in Turkey. Last but not least,  we should mention that the tenderers have a penal liabilitiy under the Turkish Penal Code if their acts or conducts constituting bid rigging crime.


1. Kanca, Cenk Osman; Bayrak Metin: Türkiye'de Kamusal harcamaların Gelişimi (Dönemsel Bir Analiz 1980-2011), s.19, Anemon – Muş Alparslan Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, Cilt:3,Sayı 2, Aralık 2015.

2. Alyanak, Servet: Public Contract Law Journal, p.203., Vol.36. No.2, pp203-227, ABA, (winter 2017),

3. http://dosyalar.kik.gov.tr/genel/Raporlar/2017_kamu_al%C4%B1mlar%C4%B1_izleme_raporu_rev3.pdf

4. http://www.ihale.gov.tr/default.aspx

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Sahin Ardiyok
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