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11 May 2020
newsletter
turkey

cee legislation tracker: turkey

Status as of 11/05 1pm CET

Table of content

  • 1 Financial Support Measures
  • 2 Capital Markets
  • 3 Employment
  • 4 Real Estate
  • 5 Tax & Duties
  • 6 Corporate
  • 7 Competition
  • 8 Courts and Authorities
  • 9 Healthcare
  • 10 Insolvency
  • 11 Insurance
  • 12 Intellectual Property
  • 13 Telecom & Data Protection

1 Financial Support Measures

  • 17/04: According to the "Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Corona-virus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244" published in the Official Gazette dated April 17, 2020; Article 23 to 27 of the Capital Markets Law which govern the material transactions and its impacts of minority shareholders, including the right to exit, the offer to buy shares, mandatory tender offers, the right to sell; will not apply to the transactions with Turkey Wealth Fund (the “Fund”), sub-funds and companies that will be established by the Fund.

2 Capital Markets

  • Companies listed on Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) are granted with an extension in respect to announcement deadlines of their Q1 financial statements. Accordingly, companies are required to disclose their Q1 financial statements until 01/06/2020 (on stand alone basis) and until 09/06/2020 (on consolidated basis). Banks, whose stocks are traded on ISE, have until 15/06/2020.
  • Trading orders for stock markets can be given through alternative means (such as secure email with signature certification or through whatsapp).
  • In respect to credit cards, minimum payment amount reduced to 20% of monthly statements.
  • In case of deferral of monthly instalments of consumer loans and car loans, the deferred period will not be taken into account for purposes of maximum terms regulated for such categories of loans.

3 Employment

3.1 Unemployment Insurance – Short Working Compensation

  • Companies reducing working time or interrupting their activities can apply for benefiting from short working compensation. Application procedures have been simplified.

3.2 Postponed Working

  • In case of shutdown of workplace, employers may require employees to compensate un-worked time through additional work within 4 months (instead of 2 pre-Corona) following the workplace becoming re-operational.

3.3 Curfew Exemption

  • On 3.4.2020, the Curfew for the citizens born January 1, 2000 or later has been adopted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However (i) public officers, contracted personnel or employees in public institutions and organizations;(ii) employees having a regular job in the private sector and document this with a social security registration document and (iii) seasonal agricultural workers born between 1.1. 2000 and 1.1. 2002 are exempt from the curfew.

3.4 Prohibition of the Termination of Employment Contracts

  • With the "Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244" published in the Official Gazette dated April 17, 2020; all kinds of employment or service contracts cannot be terminated by the employer, for a period of three months, except for the circumstances that do not comply with the ethical and goodwill rules and similar reasons.
  • The employer may furlough the employee entirely or partially on unpaid leave for a period of three months. In this regard, such action does not provide the employee the right to terminate the employment contract based on termination with valid reason.
  • Employer or employer's representatives, who terminates the employment contract, is given an administrative fine at the monthly gross minimum wage amount for each employee whose contract is terminated.
  • Certain employees (who cannot benefit from short-time work allowance or unemployment benefits) will be provided with salary support amounting to TRY 39.24 per day from the unemployment fund while they are on unpaid leave or are unemployed for the periods of prohibition of termination provided that they do not receive a pension pay from any social security organization.
  • Short-term applications: Short-term work payments will be made in accordance with the employers’ declaration, without waiting for the completion of the eligibility assessment.

4 Real Estate

n/a

5 Tax & Duties

5.1 Income Tax

  • Income tax declarations due by April 30, 2020 have been postponed until June 1, 2020.

5.2 VAT and Social Security Contributions

  • Companies operating in sectors suffering from adverse impacts of COVID-19 (e.g. retail, iron steel, automotive, logistics and transportation, cinema and theatre, accommodation, food and beverages, textile and garment and event organization) are granted the right to postpone by 6 months their VAT and Social Security contributions in respect to March, April and May.
  • VAT and Social Security Contributions payment to be made by the end of March are extended by a period of 30 days.
  • The March/April/May Ba-Bs Forms due by April 30/June 1/June 30 have been postponed until 27 July 2020.
  • The issuance and signing March/April/May e-Books and loading of the “Electronic Book Certificates” onto Revenue Administration’s processing system due by April 30/June 1/June 30 have been postponed until 27 July 2020
  • The VAT on domestic air travel will be cut from 18% to 1% for a temporary period of 3 months (until 30 June 2020)
  • Taxpayers being 65 years and older; who suffer from a chronic illness; who are certified public accountants over the age of 65 or have chronic health problems; taxpayers whose tax declarations are made by certified public accountant because they are over the age of 65 or suffer from chronic illness are accepted to be subject to force majeure from 22 March 2020 to the last day of the curfew. For this group, all tax deadlines (filing obligations and payments) have been postponed until the close of business on the 15th day following the last day of the curfew.

5.3 Tax & Duties & Payments according to the "Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244" published in the Official Gazette dated April 17, 2020;

  • 17/04: Businesses whose activities are suspended or cannot operate, the parts of annual announcement and advertisement taxes and annual environmental cleaning taxes that hit the periods in which the activities were suspended or could not be operated will not be taken.
  • Treasury and municipal immovable, national parks and forestry General Directorate immovable and permits, income tax withholding payments, social insurance premium payments will be postponed for 3 months as of April 1, 2020.
  • Payments to be collected for the 3 month period from March 3, 2020 of the prices or amounts arising from the sale, adequate pay and leasing made in accordance with the relevant legislation; regarding the immovable owned or under the ownership of metropolitan municipalities, municipalities, special provincial administrations and affiliates and local administrative associations to which they are members, will be postponed for 3 month by the Minister of Environment and Urbanization or the Minister of the Interior. In addition, the rental fees will not be collected for the period in which the activities were suspended or that could not operate.
  • Water bill debts related to the residences of the metropolitan municipalities, municipalities and their affiliates and the workplaces whose activities are suspended may be postponed by the municipalities for 3 months.
  • Real and legal persons working for Metropolitan municipalities and municipalities by obtaining permission or license or renting a line, will be able to be payed income support; license, permit, line rental debts corresponding to the specified period can be postponed for 3 months without interest.
  • The debt instalment payment of 2020 of the loan payables of the Support and Price Stability Fund (DFIF), which was restructured and paid once a year will be postponed to 2021 without interest.
  • The annual fee to be paid by the travel agencies to the Travel Agencies Association will not be received in 2020.

6 Corporate

  • 17/04: According to the "Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244" published in the Official Gazette dated April 17, 2020; until September 30, 2020, only up to twenty-five percent of the net profit for the year 2019 can be distributed as dividend; previous year profits and free reserves cannot be distributed, and companies cannot distribute advances on dividends.
  • In the event that, prior to the entry into force of the law, the general assembly has decided to distribute dividends out of the profits for 2019, however the payment has not occurred yet, such portions of the payments exceeding 25% of the net profit for 2019 will be postponed until at least September 30, 2020.
  • Possibility to cancel physical meetings of annual general assembly of shareholders. Recommendation to use means of virtual meetings for shareholders as well as for board meetings.

7 Competition

7.1 Procedural Rules

  • Competition Authority announced that all applications, information requests and submissions can be executed via the portal provided for the Authority in online judiciary system.

8 Courts and Authorities

Criminal

8.1 Access to Investigation Files

  • Investigation/Prosecution files now can be accessed through an online system by lawyers representing such individuals subject to such investigations/prosecutions.

8.2 Procedural law / deadlines

  • 30/04: According to "The Decree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent Loss of Legal Rights" issued by the President as of 30 April 2020, deadlines provided by law such as statute of limitations, peremptory terms for filing legal actions, deadlines determined by the court or stipulated by the legislation are extended from 30 April 2020 until 15 June 2020 starting from 13 March 2020. This date can be brought forward according to the course of the pandemic..
  • Statute of limitations stipulated under the relevant laws for crimes and punishments, misdemeanours and administrative sanctions, and disciplinary imprisonments and preventive detentions and statue of limitations for precautionary measures are not extended.

8.3 Court hearings

  • Hearings in Istanbul courts are postponed until June 15th (other than with respect to hearings where the suspect is in custody). Hearings in other courts as well are systematically postponed. In cases where hearings will be held, suspects will not be brought physically to the court house and will attend to hearings through an online system.

Civil

8.4 Procedural law / deadlines

  • 30/04: According to "The Decree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent Loss of Legal Rights" issued by the President as of 30 April 2020, deadlines provided by law such as statute of limitations, peremptory terms for filing legal actions, deadlines determined by the court or stipulated by the legislation are extended from 30 April 2020 until 15 June 2020 starting from 13 March 2020.. This date can be brought forward according to the course of the epidemic.
  • All actions in enforcement/execution offices (except the ones for child support payments) are suspended until 15 June 2020.

8.5 Court hearings

  • Hearings in Istanbul courts are postponed until 15 June 2020.

Administrative

8.6 Procedural rules /deadlines

  • 30/04: According to "The Decree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent Loss of Legal Rights" issued by the President as of 30 April 2020, deadlines provided by law such as statute of limitations, peremptory terms for filing legal actions, deadlines determined by the court or stipulated by the legislation are extended from 30 April 2020 until 15 June 2020 starting from 13 March 2020 2020. This date can be brought forward according to the course of the epidemic.

9 Healthcare

9.1 COVID-19 Measures

  • 04/05: The President announced that Turkey will start easing COVID-19 measures as of May 11.
  • 04/05: Back to normalization plan through May, June and July
    • Easing senior (over 65) and youth (under 20) curfew: citizens within this scope will be allowed to be outside for 4 hours for one day a week starting the weekend of 9-10 May (while the rest of the population will be under curfew during the weekends.
    • Travel restrictions for seven cities will be lifted; Antalya, Aydın, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin, Muğla.
    • For the other cities including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir (in total, twenty-four cities) the measures will remain and are extended for 15 days.
    • Shopping Malls, barber shops, hairdresser and beauty parlors will be allowed to open on May 11 as long as they abide by normalization rules including working on appointment system and accepting customers at half capacity.
    • Universities return to their academic calendar as of June 15.
  • Curfew on weekends (including national holidays, if any) since 11 April 2020.
  • 03/04: Individuals born after January 1, 2000 are under curfew (for curfew exemption see 9.3)
  • 03/04: It is mandatory to wear facemask in public areas (especially in public transport vehicles, markets, bazaars etc.
  • 24/03: The maximum number of customers in a grocery store cannot exceed 10% of the size of the area.
  • 21/03: Individuals being 65 years and older and/or who suffer from a chronic illness are under curfew.
  • 20/03: All private hospitals have been declared as “pandemic hospitals” alongside with public hospitals, as a result of which such hospitals are required to create COVID-19 intensive care units.
  • 16/03: Mandatory two-week quarantine for every person returning from abroad to Turkey (no exceptions).
  • national and international science, cultural, art and similar organizations or meetings held in open or closed areas are postponed

9.2 New Regulation: "Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244" published in the Official Gazette dated April 17, 2020

  • The validity period of the licenses granted under the Agricultural Products Licensed Warehousing Law and which will expire in 2020, has been extended by 1 year.
  • Duration of seaworthiness certificates is extended; and inspections to be made within the scope of the Law on Protection of Life and Property at Sea are postponed until August 1, 2020.
  • General assembly meetings of various institutions such as TOBB, cooperatives, associations and agricultural producer unions and maintaining the duties, powers and responsibilities of existing organs are postponed.
  • Activities carried out in R&D and design centres and activities within the Technology Development Zones will be allowed to carry out outside the region and outside the R&D and design centers for a period of 4 month starting from March 3, 2020.
  • Terms in respect to collective bargaining agreement, resolution of collective labor disputes, strike and lockout processes were extended for 3 months.
  • Sale of the immovable properties owned by the Treasury, leasing, tramping, construction of land or floor construction and limited real rights facility operations, Tenders for the renting and use of the places under the terms and conditions of the state, in return for the service fee, can be done electronically until July 31, 2020 by using the technical infrastructure of the affiliated and related institutions of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and their affiliates.
  • Law on Travel Agencies and Travel Agencies Association:
    Travel agency document can be transferred to another legal entity, independent of the agency title, provided that the permit is obtained from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
  • Higher Education Law:
    Revolving fund management units of state-owned universities, medical faculties, dental faculties, and health-related application and research center units and institutes that provide health services affiliated to their rectorate whose debt coverage percentages falls below the rate determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance can be provided a fund transfer from the budget of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
  • Social Service Law:
    Elderly and disabled people who need care services can be provided for 3 months without seeking income criteria and severe disability.
  • Force Majeure is added to the Public Financial Management and Control Law;
    Force Majeure; In cases of force majeure such as natural disasters such as earthquake, fire, flood and epidemic disease or not working of the information systems of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance for any reason; The methods for creating, recording, transmitting, preserving and presenting data, information and documents will be determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
    For delays due to force majeure sanctions such as delay interest, delay hike and penalty will not be applied. ”
  • Anti Smuggling Law:
    Medical devices and materials, test material, plasma, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, glycerol, mask, gloves, overalls, shoe covers, cologne, disinfectant, disinfection devices, respirator, intensive care equipment, medicine, vaccine, first aid equipment and devices and materials used in their production uncovered under the Law until 30/9/2020 and directly related to the fight against infectious epidemic disease, may be requested by the seizing administration or the relevant public agency from the judge during the investigation phase and from the court during the prosecution phase; if it is not necessary to keep it as evidence (after taking enough samples) or in cases where this is not possible, after determining all kinds of distinctive features.
  • Law on the Regulation of Retail Trade:
    There will be no exorbitant increase in the sale price of good or service by manufacturers, suppliers and retail businesses.
    Producers, suppliers and retail businesses will not be engaged in activities that prevent the consumer from accessing goods and activities that create disruption in the market, disrupt market balance and free competition.
    Administration fines were issued. Administrative fine between 10.000 TRY and 100.000 TRY for excessive prices; administrative fine between 50.000 TRY and 500.000 TRY for conduct to create scarcity, distort competition or prevent consumers from accessing goods.

10 Insolvency

10.1 Insolvency

  • Freeze of insolvency applications by creditors until 30/04.

11 Insurance

n/a

12 Intellectual Property

n/a

13 Telecom & Data Protection

13.1 Data Protection

  • No specific regulation has been issued so far. The existing legislation package continues to apply. However, the Data Protection Authority has published an announcement in which COVID-19 related queries, especially regarding the processing of health-related data, have been answered. Nevertheless, in summary, the Data Protection Authority referred to general principles of the data protection regulation and data minimization.

Kindly note that the summaries on this page are for information purposes only and do not take into account the specifics of a certain situation. The information is not designed to substitute and cannot substitute legal advice tailored to your needs. It is made available strictly on a non-reliance basis. Also, some of the addressed topics might be subject to short-term changes.

This article is part of our coronavirus-focused legal updates – visit our coronavirus infocorner to get more info!