The Dispute Resolution Review - Tenth Edition

Turkey is a unitary republic with a single nationwide legal system. It is a civil law country, as this term is generally understood in Continental Europe. Codified law, as the main source of law, adheres to a hierarchical system. The Constitution is naturally at the very top, with which no law can be at odds. International treaties that are duly ratified and put into effect carry the force of law, pursuant to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution. Moreover, such international treaties are immune to a constitutionality review by the Constitutional Court. International treaties in the field of fundamental rights and freedoms enjoy even higher degrees of deference as Article 90 stipulates that provisions of human rights treaties shall prevail over any conflicting domestic laws. Statutes (i.e., laws) enacted by the National Assembly and decree-laws passed by the government come next in the ranking. These are followed by regulations, by-laws and communiqués passed by various public authorities.

From a historical perspective, codification of major statutes was largely an exercise of translating some of the leading European laws of the era, with necessary adaptations in view of the society’s traditions and customs. Specifically, present day Turkish law finds its roots in the Swiss civil, German commercial and Italian criminal codes. These European systems continue to influence Turkish law despite enormous legal reforms that have taken place in Turkey, especially in the past decade.


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Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd.

This article was first published in March 2018

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