Edition 48: 12 July 2017
Editorial Team:
Orçun Çetinkaya, LL.M., Ezgi Baklacı, LL.M., and Pelin Oğuzer, LL.M.
Turkey Updates Construction Permit Regime

Turkey has updated construction rules, meaning it will no longer be possible to build studio apartments. Municipalities also now receive the discretion to determine aesthetic aspects of buildings, to ensure new buildings fit with their neighbours. The maximum permitted footprint for foundations of new buildings also increases from 40% to 60% of the land parcel’s total area. 

The Zoning Regulation on Planned Areas (“Regulation”) was published in Official Gazette number 30113 on 3 July 2017, entering into effect on 1 October 2017.

Notable changes introduced by the Regulation include:

– It will no longer be possible to build studio apartments because apartments will now be required to be at least 28.5 m2, containing one living room and one bedroom minimum.

– Municipalities now have the discretion to determine the paint, siding and roofing material, as well as colours of buildings, to ensure buildings are compatible with each other.

– Certain heat insulation applications and solar energy systems will no longer require a construction permit.

– To encourage fewer buildings being built, the maximum foundation footprint will increase from 40% to 60% of the total land parcel.

– The maximum storey height for buildings and workplaces increases from 3.60 m to 4.00 m.

– Areas owned by the Gendarmerie General Command and Coast Guard Command will no longer be deemed military areas. The Treasury will now be deemed to own these areas.

For construction permits granted by 1 October 2017, the applicant can choose whether the new or prior rules will apply.

Please see this link for the full text of the Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkish Court Rules that Parties Must Specifically Identify Sworn Testimony as Evidence

The highest body within Turkey’s Court of Cassation recently ruled that parties cannot present an oath as evidence if this sworn testimony was not listed as evidence. The prohibition applies even is the party’s court application includes catch-all wording, such as “other evidences, any other evidence” to allow further evidence submission. The decision applies to cases filed after 4 February 2011, the enforcement date of the Civil Procedure Code numbered 6100 (“Civil Procedure Code”).

The Civil Procedure Code requires parties to specify the facts which they rely on for their claims (Article 194). That is, parties must explicitly state their evidence, as well as identify which claims each piece of evidence supports. This rule was not included in earlier legislation (Civil Procedure Code numbered 1086).

In the case at hand, the General Assembly on the Unification of Judgements of the Court of Cassation (“General Assembly”) considered whether legislation allows parties to submit sworn testimony as evidence if they have earlier reserved the right to submit other evidence, without explicitly referring to sworn testimony. It also considered whether judges can remind the parties of their right to submit sworn testimony within the scope of the judicial obligation to.

The General Assembly found the requirement to explicitly identify evidence was crucial. It ultimately decided by majority that parties do not have the right to tender an oath as evidence if they did not explicitly include the oath in their evidence list. The General Assembly also ruled that judges cannot remind parties of their right to submit sworn testimony.

The General Assembly’s decision (Number 2015/2 E., 2017/1 K.) dated 3 March 2017 was published in Official Gazette number 30099 on 17 June 2017 and can be accessed at this link (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Updates Certification Scheme for Environmentally Conscious Accommodation

Turkey has updated its Environmentally Conscious Accommodation scheme, aiming to further encourage environmentally sustainable tourism. The voluntary certification scheme generally supports environmental awareness, protects the environment, as well as encourages positive environmental contributions. Certificates enable customers to easily identify accommodation providers which meet minimum environmental thresholds. Certificate holders can also benefit from state support for electricity costs.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism (“Ministry”) published the Communiqué on Issuing Environmentally Conscious Accommodation Certificates (“Communiqué”) in Official Gazette number 30101 on 19 June 2017, entering into force on the same date. The Communiqué annuls the Communiqué on Issuing Environmentally Conscious Accommodation Certificates to Accommodation Facility Granted with Tourism Operation License (Communiqué No: 2008/3).

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism made a range of changes to the rules and procedures used to evaluate actions carried out by accommodation facilities.

Changes particularly apply to:

– Applications for an Environmentally Conscious Accommodation Facility Certificate.

– Documents requested during applications.

– The Ministry’s evaluation of applications.

– The evaluation form.

– Procedures and principles regarding the classification system.

The Ministry awards certificates based on a points system. Applicant facilities must achieve a minimum number of points in order to receive an Environmentally Conscious Accommodation Facility Certificate, along with a green plaque which shows the facility’s type and class.

The Ministry awards points in the following general areas:

– Environmental management policies and action plans.

– Certain certificates and awards.

– Environment-friendly facility organization.

– Energy and water use, as well as waste management.

Certificate holders are eligible to receive state support for electrical energy, as per the Decision on Support of Electric Energy to Facilities which hold Certificates of Environmentally Conscious Accommodation by the Decree of the Council of Ministers No. 2013/5265.

The level of support is calculated as the difference between:

– The tariff applied to the certificate holder’s subscriber group, and

– The lowest tariff applied to residential and industrial subscribers where the tourism operation is located.

Support payments will be paid from the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Please see this link for the full text of the Communiqué (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Clarifies Handover Rules for Public Procurement Contracts

Turkey has clarified the principles required as a result of administrative judicial decisions during implementation of agreements within the scope of decisions by the Public Procurement Authority. These include procedural requirement where the most economically advantageous bidder in a tender process is different to the contractor which is currently performing the work.

The Communiqué Amending the Public Procurement Communiqué (“Amendment Communiqué”) was published in Official Gazette number 30109 on 29 June 2017.

The Amendment Communiqué clarifies that in such circumstances, the existing agreement will be terminated if the successful bidder applies in writing and meets other requirements to execute the new agreement. The new agreement will be signed once the liquidation process is complete for the existing contractor.

The existing contractor’s agreement will continue if the successful bidder:

– Declines to execute the agreement.

– Fails to sign the agreement by related deadlines.

– Fails to submit documents required for execution.

The provisions apply from 29 June 2017, regardless of the tender’s date.

Please see this link for the full text of the Amendment Communique (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Updates Solar Electricity Licensing Procedures

Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has updated licensing procedures for solar electricity facilities. Changes apply procedural aspects of pre-license application assessments, as well as amendment applications and applications for unlicensed solar generation facilities.

The Regulation Regarding Technical Assessment of Electricity Production Based on Solar Power (“Regulation”) was published in Official Gazette number 30110 on 30 June 2017.

Notable changes introduced by the Regulation include:

– Pre-license applications for licensed solar electricity production must now be made to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (“Authority”), which will pass on the application documentation to the Renewable Energy General Directorate (“Directorate”) for technical assessment.

– The Directorate will now classify applications before processing them, based on substations and/or regions.

– The General Directorate of Highways and the General Directorate of State Airports Authority can now request flash point analysis from the Directorate, to decrease possible negative effects of proposed solar plants located near existing or planned roads and airports.

– More details are provided regarding the Directorate’s assessments of amendment applications.

Please see this link for full text of the Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Tightens Rules For Manufacturing and Labelling Cigarette Papers

Turkey has tightened manufacturing rules for cigarette papers, as well as prohibited adding sugars, flavouring and colouring during production. It has also updated the minimum requirements for health warnings on packages for cigarette papers. Most notably, the health warning on cigarette papers must now cover at least 65% of the package’s most visible side.

The Board Decision on the Convenience of the Cigarette Papers with Technical Regulations number 13016 and dated 17 May 2017 (“Decision”) was published in Official Gazette number 30103 on 21 June 2017, entering into effect on the same date.

Manufacturing Restrictions

The Decision introduces new regulations as follows:

– The product’s contents and toxicological data charts must conform with the guide and tables published on the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority’s website.

– The product contents for cigarette paper must be written in Turkish, together with Latin words (if any).

– Use of sugar and flavouring when manufacturing cigarette papers is prohibited.

– Use of colorants during production of cigarette papers is prohibited, except for those used in trademarks, logos, figures etc. and bleaching materials.

– Use of benzene, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, glycosal, mineral oil, and naphtenic is prohibited during production of cigarette papers, in cigarette papers, as well as in cigarette paper inks and border adhesives.

Warning Notices on Cigarette Paper Packaging

The Decision states that the front side of cigarette paper packages must contain a general warning on the most visible part, covering at least 65% of that package side (including black border lines). Prior legislation did not specify a minimum size for the warning.

The general warning must be:

– On a white background.

– Use black and bold Helvetica font.

– Use a text size allowing the message to occupy the widest coverage possible.

– Written in Turkish.

– Use initial capital letters, followed by lower-case letters.

– Printed irremovably, as well as be non-erasable, and indivisible when the package is opened.

The Decision prohibits:

– Placing misleading and deficient information on the visible outer package, the inner package, or tear tape of cigarette paper packages and cigarette papers.

– Creating the impression the product is less harmful than others on the market.

– Encouraging use of products, including use of any text, name, sign, insignia or colour which may mislead or encourage the public.

The Decision’s requirements do not apply to cigarette papers which are destined for export.

Please see this link for full text of the Decision (only available in Turkish).

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