As part of the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Presidential Cabinet meeting held on 26 April 2021, a full lockdown has been decided on for the period 29 April-17 May 2021. In order to prevent the loss of rights that may arise from these measures, Article 15 of the Law No. 7318 dated 29 April 2021 ("Law") has brought certain restrictions for the transactions that will be made upon the submission of checks and has regulated that for receivables based on due commercial bills, enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings cannot be initiated, an interim decision cannot be rendered and the proceedings that have already initiated will be suspended until the end of May. You may access the content of the decision via this link: https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2021/04/20210430-10.pdf. The procedures and principles regarding the implementation of subparagraph (a) of Article 15 of the Law have been regulated by the Ministry of Commerce's Communiqué ("Communiqué") dated 30 April 2021.
What does the Law and the Communiqué say?
As per Article 15 of the Law and the Communiqué issued for the implementation of subparagraph (a):
- The checks, submission period of which expires between 30 April 2021 and 31 May 2021 (inclusive of these dates), cannot be submitted during this period; they can be submitted after 1 June 2021 within the remaining submission period.
- If the submission period of a check expires between 30 April 2021 and 31 May 2021 (inclusive of these dates) and the check is submitted between these dates:
- The check amount shall be paid if there is sufficient amount in the issuer's bank account.
- If there is no sufficient amount in the issuer's bank account, the check will not be considered as a bounced check as per the Check Law No. 5491 and no transaction will be made thereof. After 1 June 2021, necessary transactions regarding the bounced checks can be made.
- Regarding the receivables based on commercial bills that become due between 30 April 2021 and 31 May 2021 (inclusive of these dates):
- enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings cannot be filed and initiated;
- interim attachment decisions cannot be rendered;
- enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings that were already initiated will be suspended
between the aforementioned period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on judicial works. With the abovementioned regulations, in addition to protecting the rights of the creditors who could not submit their checks to the bank within the scope of the restriction measures applied due to the pandemic, the debtors have also been allowed to pay their debts that became due in this period, after 1 June 2021. At this point, we would like to underline that enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings within the scope of the Law are specific to the collection of receivables based on commercial bills, and no restrictions have been imposed on enforcement proceedings filed for the collection of ordinary receivables.
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.