Do you need to deposit a guarantee/security to file a lawsuit in Turkey?
When non-Turkish citizens or non-residents file a lawsuit or initiate enforcement proceedings in Turkey against a Turkish citizen or resident, and lose the case in the end, the counterparty is exposed to the risk that it may not be able to collect the losses and legal fees it has incurred because of the legal action taken against it. In order to avoid this situation, under Turkish Law, a security mechanism is foreseen for non-Turkish citizens or non-residents in Turkey.
Security deposit to be paid by non-Turkish citizens:
Legal proceedings concerning disputes involving a foreign element are regulated in the International Private and Procedural Law numbered 5718 and dated 27 November 2007 (“IPPL”). Pursuant to Article 48/1 of the IPPL,
“Foreign real and legal persons who file a lawsuit, participate in the lawsuit or pursue enforcement proceedings in a Turkish court; have to deposit the guarantee to be determined by the court in order to cover the costs and losses of the other party with the litigation expenses.”
Accordingly, in order to be able to file a lawsuit or initiate enforcement proceedings in Turkey, foreign real and legal persons must deposit an amount as security that is sufficient to cover the expenses and potential losses of the other party .
Security deposit to be paid by non-resident Turkish Citizens:
Pursuant to Article 84 for Code of Civil Procedure numbered 6100 (“CCP”), if a Turkish citizen who does not have a habitual residence in Turkey files a lawsuit, participates in a lawsuit as an intervening party, or pursues enforcement proceedings, a suitable security must be deposited to cover the probable litigation expenses of the defendant. The security amount to cover the costs of the proceedings is decided ex officio by the court under Article 86 of the CCP.
There is no determinative regulation in either IPPL or CCP regarding what constitutes security. However, according to Article 87 of the CCP, if the parties did not determine the form of the security, the judge can freely determine its form.
Another consideration is the amount of the security deposit to be paid by non-nationals and non-resident turkish citizens. In practice, the courts fix the amount of the security to be between %10-%15 of the amount in dispute.
If the security is deposited in cash, it must be decided whether the money should be deposited in foreign currency or in Turkish Liras. In the Court of Cassation decisions, it is ruled that the security to be deposited by foreigners should be in foreign currency.
When the court or the enforcement office orders security to be deposited as such, a reasonable period of time is granted to the relevant persons. If the security is not deposited within the granted period, the consequence is that the case will not be heard before the Turkish Courts.
Exemption From the Security Requirement
- For non-Turkish Citizens:
Although it is regulated in article 48/1 of the IPPL that security must be deposited, according to Article 48/2 of that Law, the court exempts the foreign persons from the security requirement based on the principle of reciprocity. Reciprocity may stem from bilateral/unilateral agreements, the laws or may be de facto. For this reason, if there is an agreement or a provision of law or an actual practice between the country of citizenship of the claimant and Turkey, that party is granted an exemption from having to deposit security.
Some of the agreements to which Turkey is a party and which foresee an exemption from the security are as follows:
- The Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 on Civil Procedure
- 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
- Contract for International Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV) dated 1961
- Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) dated 1956
- Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
Citizens of those states that are parties to the agreements listed above are exempt from depositing guarantees when filing a lawsuit or initiating enforcement proceedings in Turkey, provided that the conditions in their relevant articles are met in the particular case.
In addition to the above, Turkey has bilateral legal aid or friendship agreements with a large number of countries that provide exemption from the security requirement. It is therefore necessary for foreigners or non-resident Turks to take into account these agreements and determine whether they shall be exempt from the requirement before filing a lawsuit in Turkey or initiating enforcement proceedings, given that the security amounts can be significant depending on the value of the particular dispute.
 ŞANLI, Cemal, International Private Law, İstanbul, 2014, p.416
 Court of Cassation 12th Circuit Decision numbered 2004/5408E. and 2004/9048K. dated 13.04.2004, Court of Cassation 12th Circuit Decision numbered 2004/5278E. and 2004/8098K. dated 02.04.2004
 ŞANLI, Cemal, International Private Law, İstanbul, 2014, p.420
 ŞANLI, Cemal, International Private Law, İstanbul, 2014, p.421
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