25 June 2020
25 June 2020

The global outbreak of COVID-19 which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization has forced countries to take extraordinary measures in all aspects of life.

Law No.7226 on Amendment of Certain Laws has been enacted and published in the Official Gazette on March 26th, 2020 in Turkey with the aim to prevent loss of rights due to the pandemic in judicial and administrative procedures.

According to Law No.7226:

  • Deadlines concerning the establishment, use and loss of any rights including those envisaged for filing a lawsuit, initiating enforcement proceedings, application, opposition, notice, submission, the statute of limitation periods, time bars and mandatory administrative application periods, together with all periods regulated under Administrative Procedure Code numbered 2577, Criminal Procedure Code numbered 5271, Civil Procedure Code numbered 6100 and other codes with provisions concerning procedural law, time periods determined by judges and lastly periods for mediation and conciliation have been suspended as of March 13th, 2020 to April 30th, 2020 and any time periods that were suspended will resume running from the day after last day of the suspension period.
  • Judicial periods regulated under Code of Bankruptcy and Enforcement numbered 2004 along with those regulated under other laws with provisions concerning enforcement proceedings and within this scope, time periods determined by judges or enforcement and bankruptcy offices, all bankruptcy and enforcement proceedings except the enforcement proceedings of allowances given as per family law, enforcement transactions including enforcement transactions of the parties, receiving new requests to issue bankruptcy and enforcement proceedings, bankruptcy and enforcement proceedings regarding the provisional attachment orders have been suspended as of March 22th, 2020 to April 30th, 2020 and any time periods that were suspended will resume running from the day after last day of the suspension period.

Within the framework of the law, the stated suspension periods may be extended in the future for 6 months at the most, if necessary. Furthermore, there will be an additional 15 days of extension, if any of the deadlines are to expire in or less than 15 days as of the beginning date of the suspension period.

Moreover, the statute of limitation periods for crimes and punishments, misdemeanors, administrative sanctions along with disciplinary imprisonments and preventive detention, judicial periods concerning precautionary measures regulated under Criminal Procedure Code numbered 5271 and judicial periods concerning additional proceedings related to the interim injunction regulated under Civil Procedure Code numbered 6100 have not been suspended since they have been explicitly excluded from the scope of the Law.

Within the scope of the Bankruptcy and Enforcement Law numbered 2004 and other laws with provisions concerning enforcement proceedings;

  • If the sale date of asset or right which was announced by the enforcement and bankruptcy offices falls within the suspension period, “without a need of a request” the enforcement and bankruptcy offices will determine and announce a new date for the sale of the asset or right after the end of the abovementioned suspension period. The announcement will be made electronically and free of charge.
  • It is allowed to make payments within the suspension period and parties can request an action that would be considered to be in line with the counter party’s interests.
  • During the suspension period, the outcomes of the concordatum procedure keep affecting the creditor and debtor.
  • Within this period, all the necessary precautions regarding the enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings will be taken.

Last but not least, the Board of Presidents, Council of Judges and Prosecutors and Ministry of Justice have been authorized to determine the measures to be taken including the postponement of hearings and negotiations, as well as related procedures and principles. Accordingly, on March 30th, 2020, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors has issued a General Assembly Decision on adjourning primarily all hearings, investigations, negotiations at the judicial and administrative first instance and appeal proceedings, except for the ones regarding detention (only for the evaluation of the detention), urgent matters, investigation and prosecution cases that are subject to a close term of limitation, suspension of execution and the other actions and matters that have priority, after April 30th, 2020 (including that day). The Council also ordered to have hearings related to the determination of imprisonment, to be conducted online.

Finally, whether there is an explicit rule for the arbitration proceedings, the parties, together with the arbitral tribunals, may amicably settle on the suspension of the proceedings for a certain period.

While Turkey does not imply a total lockdown, these kinds of official measures which eliminate the necessity to go out will clearly support the combat with COVID-19 pandemic.