Edition 51: 7 September 2017
Editorial Team:
Orçun Çetinkaya, LL.M., Ezgi Baklacı, LL.M., and Pelin Oğuzer, LL.M.
Turkey Extends Deadline for Eligible Energy Projects to Access Exemptions and Discounts

Turkey has extended the deadline for eligible energy projects to benefit from exemptions and discounts, adding five further years to become operational. Qualifying projects must now become operational by 31 December 2025 in order to receive the incentives available for their first ten years of operation.

Cabinet Decree numbered 2017/10451 on Extension of Times Within the Scope of the Fourth Paragraph of Provisional Clause 4 under the Electricity Market Law numbered 6556 (“Decree”) was published in Official Gazette number 30137 on 28 July 2017, entering into effect on the same date. The Decree amended Provisional Article 4/4 of the Electricity Market Law numbered 6446 (“Law”). 

Eligible facilities can benefit from the following incentives during the first ten years of operation:

– 85% discount on their permit, right of way and usage licenses

– Exemption from paying Forestry Villagers Development Revenue fees

– Exemption from paying Forestation and Erosion Control Revenue fees.

Under the Law, the following facilities qualify for the incentives, provided the facility becomes operational by 31 December 2025:

– Electricity generation facilities based on renewable energy sources.

– Electricity generation facilities in which certain specific mines are used as input in the relevant mine operating license and permission. The mines are listed in IV group (b) of Article 2 in Law numbered 3213.

– Access roads to specified mines.

– Energy transmission lines, including those to be transferred to Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEİAŞ) and distribution companies in accordance with their license.

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

Read More
Turkey Significantly Increases Fines for Supplying and Distributing Unsafe Products

Turkey’s Ministry of Economy has updated secondary legislation to increase the lower and upper limits for administrative fines which are applied for supplying and distributing unsafe products to the market. The revised thresholds involve significant increases particularly for suppliers or distributors of products which are unsafe, or breach technical legislation.

The administrative fines are applied for breaches of the Law on Preparing and Implementing Technical Legislation for Goods numbered 4703. The new limits are introduced by The Communiqué Amending the Communiqué on Safety and Audit of Goods numbered 2017/28 in respect of Announcement of the new Values of Administrative Fines Envisaged by the Law on Preparation and Implementation of Technical Legislation regarding Goods numbered 4703 (“Communiqué”). The Communiqué was published in Official Gazette number 30130 on 21 July 2017, entering into effect on 1 July 2017.

The new limits for administrative fines and relevant percentage increases are as follows:

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

Read More
Turkey Streamlines Application Process for Initiating Consumer Arbitrations

The Consumer Arbitration Committee (“Committee”) considers and make decisions on consumer conflicts worth up to 3,610 Turkish Lira. From 11 August 2017, applicants the Committee are no longer required to submit a signed copy of their application within fifteen days of making an online application via the Consumer Information System.

The Ministry of Customs and Trade (“Ministry”) published the Amendment Regulation to the Regulation on Consumer Arbitral Committee (“Amendment Regulation”) in Official Gazette number 30151 on 11 August 2017.

Other notable amendments introduced by the Amendment Regulation include:

– Applications can now be made to the Committee in person or via counsel in the following methods:

– Hand delivery

– Post

– Online via the Consumer Information System.

– If an applicant chooses not to use the standard application form (published on the Ministry’s website), their application should include the following information:

– The applicant’s:

– Name and surname.

– Turkish identity number.

– Address.

– Other contact information.

– Description of the claim.

– Value of the claim in Turkish Lira. For claims made in foreign currency, the value should be converted to Turkish Lira, based on the Central Bank’s current exchange rate as of the application date.

– The Chairman, member or reporter of the Committee cannot be appointed as expert in Committee.

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

Read More
Turkey Launches Mineral Resource and Reserve Reporting Commission to Oversee Certain Mining Activities

Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (“Ministry”) has announced principles for organizing the National Mineral Resource and Reserve Reporting Commission (“Commission”), including principles for selecting members, as well as their respective duties. Among other things, the Commission is tasked with establishing open, reliable and feasible resource and reserve information for mine prospection, research and production, as well as setting reporting standards (including financial aspects).

The Regulation on National Mineral Resource and Reserve Reporting Commission (“Regulation”) was published in Official Gazette number 30135 on 26 July 2017, entering into effect on the same date.

As per the Regulation, The Commission will be made up of seven each elected for a three-year term:

– Two members elected from candidates proposed by the General Directorate of Mining Affairs and General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration;

– One member elected from candidates proposed by the Capital Market Board and Istanbul Stock Exchange;

– Two members elected from among individuals registered to professional chambers;

– Two members elected from candidates proposed by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

The Regulation also outlines details for when memberships expire, working principles for the Commission, as well as the duties and authorities of the commission, as well as its president.

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

Read More
Turkey Promotion Group Established to Strengthen the “Made in Turkey” Brand Among Global Markets

The Turkey Promotion Group (“Promotion Group”) has been established under the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, aiming to unify all activities to promote the country and its products among global markets. The Promotion Group replaces a range of sector-based promotion groups, which have now been disbanded.  It will be funded by Turkish exporters, as a percentage contribution of their Free on Board export price.

The Promotion Group will promote exports, as well as strengthen the “Made in Turkey” concept and country’s image within global markets. Its efforts will be made in line with export policies, strategies, target markets and promotion activities, determined by the Ministry of Economy.

The Promotion Group will be funded by exporters, which will be required to contribute up to 0.03% of their Free on Board export prices, at rates which will be determined by the Ministry of Economy. Not more than 20% of the annual budget will be assigned to sectoral promotion projects.

All of the Promotion Groups activities, work, accounts and transactions will be subject to administrative and financial supervision by the Ministry of Economy. 

The Regulation on Turkey Promotion Group’s Establishment and Duties and was published in Official Gazette number 30152 on 12 August 2017. Please see this link for full text of the Regulation (only available in Turkish).

Read More
Turkey Introduces New Financial Reporting Standard for Large and Medium-Sized Companies

Turkey has introduced a new Financial Reporting Standard for Large and Medium-Sized Companies (“New Standard”), relevant to entities which are currently subject to independent audit, but are exempt from applying the Turkish Financial Reporting Standards. The New Standard will apply to these companies for financial periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

Large companies are those which meet or exceed at least two of the following criteria, either individually, or with their affiliates, for two subsequent reporting periods::

– Net assets of 75 million Turkish Lira.

– Annual net sales revenue of 150 million.

– Average 250 employees.

Implementation details for the Standard are outlined in Communiqué (Serial No: 56) (“Communiqué”), issued by the Public Oversight Accounting and Auditing Standards Authority.

The Communiqué also addresses the process for companies’ transition between the New Standard and the Turkish Financial Reporting Standards. Accordingly:

– Companies which apply the New Standard must have applied this for at least two years, before they are eligible to voluntarily apply the Turkish Financial Reporting Standards.

– Companies which voluntarily apply the Turkish Financial Reporting Standards must have applied this for two years, before they are eligible to apply the New Standard.

Please see this link for the full text of the Communiqué published in Official Gazette number 30138 on 29 July 2017 (only available in Turkish).

Read More
Turkey Announces a Series of Amendments to Support Competition Among Alcohol Brands

Turkey’s Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority has announced a series of changes which collectively support competition among alcohol brands, for sellers of open alcoholic beverages. The changes include new requirements for sellers to stock multiple products within the same alcohol category, prohibit exclusivity arrangements, as well as disclose certain minimum information on their menus.

The Regulation Regarding Changes to Be Made on The Regulation on Procedures and Principles Regarding Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages (“Amendment Regulation”) was published in Official Gazette number 30144 on 4 August 2017.

Notable changes introduced by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority include:

– Sellers of open alcoholic beverage must now offer at least two different firms’ products for sale within each alcohol category (except beer).

– Agreements between sellers of open alcoholic beverage and producers, importers or wholesalers must not contain exclusivity provisions, or provisions which restrict/limit market competition. Existing agreements which contain exclusivity provisions must be amended by 4 August 2018.

– Sellers of open alcoholic beverage must now information in their menus regarding the brand, service/packaging size and price for all products.

– For certificates to sell alcohol which were issued based on tourism investment certificates, the certificate holder must now provide documentation to show the certified place is at least 100 meters away from:

– Formal education institutions.

– Private education course rooms.

– Dormitories.

– Places of worship.

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

Read More
Turkey Releases Detailed Guideline for New Food Labelling and Information Requirements

Turkey has published a Guideline for the Turkish Food Codex Labelling and Informing Consumers Regulation (“Guideline”), released in January 2017 (more). The Guideline outlines rules and limitations for information contained on food packaging, including minimum standards. The rules support consistency between food products, requiring food labels avoid being misleading. In turn, these rules support consumers being informed and making conscious choices.

Key points addressed in the Guideline include:

– Food labels should:

– Not be misleading.

– Help consumers to make conscious choices.

– When considering the deceptiveness of a label or definition, the label, presentation and advertisement should be considered as a whole.

– Product labels should not be deceptive. A product’s trademarks, names, phrases, terms and visuals should not recall any other product type, in terms of its nature, identity, qualities, composition, quantity, endurance, country of origin, production method etc.

– The Guideline regulates phrases, synonyms, and translations which must be used on food labels in detail. For example, if the phrase “natural” is used on a food label, the phrase “naturelle” can also be used.

– Trademarks on the food labels must not be deceptive. For example, the phrases “bio” or “eco” cannot be used on inorganic foods.

– The term “natural” can only be used to define foods which:

– Consist of a single component (not containing any component like supplements, aroma etc.) and

– Are not processed in any way, except via physical, enzymatical or microbiological processes.

– Phrases like “natural components are used during the production of the subject food”, “production from natural components” can only be used on foods which meet the conditions above.

– Responsibilities are outlined for food managers and importer, as well as their responsibilities during distant sales.

– Mandatory information for food labels should be written in Turkish.

– The Guideline outlines rules for presenting information on food labels about:

– Substances and ingredients which may cause food intolerance or allergies.

– Ingredients.

– Expiration dates and recommended consumption dates.

– Office of origin.

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

Read More
Turkey Adopts the European Convention on Counterfeit Medical Products

Turkey has now adopted the Council of Europe Convention on the Counterfeiting of Medical Products and Similar Crimes Involving Threats to Public Health (“Convention”) into local legislation (more). The Convention criminalizes certain acts, protects victims’ rights, as well as encourages national and international co-operation. 

After long-running discussions, the Convention was ratified by Law numbered 6964 on 8 March 2017. The process was concluded by publication of a Council of Ministers’ decision on 29 May 2017 and the Convention was finally adopted on 2 August 2017.

The Convention requires signatory countries to adopt domestic legislation and other measures. Accordingly, Turkey is now required to amend legislation to criminalize manufacturing, procuring and smuggling counterfeit medical products, along with forging documents and similar acts, if such act poses a threat to public health.

The Convention will enter into effect on the first day of the fourth month after the accession instrument is deposited with the Council of Europe’s Secretary General.

Please see this link for the full text of the Convention (both English and Turkish)

Read More
Turkey Synchronizes Annual Paid Leave Provisions in Secondary Legislation

Turkey has updated secondary legislation to reflect changes which were made in 2014 and 2016 to the paid leave provisions of Labour Law number 4857. The changes apply to employee entitlements to take leave in parts, as well as principal/sub-employer arrangements and obligations.

Accordingly, the Regulation on Annual Paid Leave has now been updated to state:

– An employee’s annual paid leave can be used in parts, provided employees take at least one part of their leave in a period of more than ten days.

– Annual paid leave for sub-employees is calculated from the respective employee’s first date of employment at the respective workplace, even if the sub-employer changes.

– Principal employers must check whether sub-employees can use their annual paid leave and ensure that sub-employees use their annual paid leave in the relevant year.

– Sub-employers must provide the principal employer with a copy of documents to certify that sub-employees have used their annual paid leave periods.

– Employees working underground are given four extra days of annual paid leave.

Please see this link for the full text of the Amendment Regulation of the Regulation on Annual Paid Leave, published in Official Gazette number 30158 on 18 August 2017 (only available in Turkish).

Read More
Turkish Constitutional Court: Treasury Should Pay Inflation-Related Losses to State Employees Caused by Delays in Paying Retirement Bonus

In Turkey, employees of social security institutions are entitled to receive retirement bonuses after working for certain periods. The Constitutional Court recently ruled that the loss in value caused by inflation between the date an employee is entitled to receive a retirement bonus and the actual payment date, violates employees’ property rights and constitutes an excessive and extraordinary burden.

The Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that the lost value should be considered within the scope property rights. Accordingly, it ruled that the treasury should pay compensation to employee for the lost value.

Please see this link for the full text of the Constitutional Court’s decision (only available in Turkish).

Read More