Transparency International recently published the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, which reflects the public sector corruption perspective of non-governmental organisations and representatives of the business world. Turkey came 81st out of 180 countries. This is the fourth consecutive year in which Turkey's ranking has fallen; it has lost 10 points and fallen 28 places over the past five years.
If the evaluation of a whistleblower report is completed without taking fundamental steps or necessary planning, it may result in an improper investigation and the inability to resolve the issue, or even the undertaking of an unnecessary investigation. It is therefore vital to adopt a policy on how to evaluate and treat future whistleblowers, inform employees accordingly and train decision makers in the company.
The government aims to make Turkey one of the world's top 10 economies in the field of health services by 2023. As a result, Turkey's pharma industry is expected to reach $23 billion turnover by 2023 and imported products will continue to account for approximately half of the market share. The import of pharmaceuticals is expected to maintain its significant market share in the coming years.
In 2015 the 15th Chamber of the Court of Appeals held that courts cannot grant a preliminary attachment on the ground of a foreign court judgment, unless this judgment had been enforced in Turkey. The court's reasoning was that foreign court judgments and foreign arbitral awards can be executed in Turkey only if and when they are enforced in Turkey. However, a dissenting opinion in this decision stated that courts can grant a preliminary injunction before an enforcement decision has been finalised.
The Competition Board recently published a reasoned decision following its preliminary investigation into whether Yataş Yorgan ve Yatak San ve Tic AŞ had violated Article 4 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition. The allegations concerned the claim that Yataş had, through its best price guarantee campaign, restricted competition by acting in cooperation with independent retailers or pressuring them with abusive pricing policies.
The new Industrial Property Code 6769 has introduced new provisions regarding patent enforcement. The code aims to improve the quality of patented inventions and harmonise Turkish patent law with EU legislation and the international agreements to which Turkey is a party. Although the new IP Code has yet to be fully harmonised with the European Patent Convention, it is expected that these gaps will be filled when parties enforce their patent rights before the courts.
Overtime in Turkey is regulated by the Labour Act and the Regulation on Overtime. Following criticism from legal scholars, the Regulation on Overtime was recently amended. The amendment has clarified that an employee's written consent for overtime can be obtained through an employment contract or during the employment relationship if needed. Therefore, obtaining employee consent at the beginning of each year is no longer required.
The Labour Courts Act, which was recently published in the Official Gazette, aims to ease the judiciary's workload and accelerate the judicial process in employment cases. The act has introduced a number of changes, the most important of which include mandatory mediation for employers and employees before initiating lawsuits, an amended procedure for reinstatement cases and a reduced statute of limitations of five years for several types of compensation.
Article 5 of the Cheque Law imposes a judicial fine on cheque account owners for a bounced cheque. These fines cannot be less than the amount of the bounced cheque plus the accrued interest on the cheque's submission date and the total fees for execution and legal proceedings. Several courts recently applied to the Constitutional Court to request the annulment of Article 5 based on, among other things, the uncertain criteria used to calculate such fines.
Employee inventions and designs are two of the new Industrial Property Code's main areas of intervention. The recently issued ad hoc regulation introduces the criteria and parameters to determine and calculate fees to be paid to employee inventors, the legal basis for which was missing until now. However, the new code and the regulation contain points which are open to interpretation, which will influence the practice and implementation of these new rules.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision on the Tyre Industrialist Association's application for an exemption for its Waste Management Strategies and Implementation Plan for Worn-out Tyres 2016 to 2020. The board decided that the association's proposal would not limit competition in a manner which would violate Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition and granted an individual five-year exemption.
In both domestic and international arbitrations in Turkey, parties are, in principle, free to choose their arbitrators. However, there are limits in this regard, including where the parties are of different nationalities. The Court of Appeals recently rendered an important decision in this regard, which provides an objective standard of proof for assessing doubts with regard to the independence and impartiality of arbitrators.
The Supreme Court recently rendered an important decision concerning the protection of employees' privacy rights. The court reversed a first-instance labour court decision and ruled that the dismissal of an employee was unlawful on the grounds that the employer had used the employee's WhatsApp conversations (obtained in an impermissible way) as evidence, thus violating the employee's right to privacy.
Following an 18-month investigation, the Competition Board recently found that Mey İçki held a dominant position in the vodka and gin markets. However, the board had already examined Mey İçki's alleged practices and imposed penalties in its earlier decision on the raki market. As such, the board accepted the non bis in idem defence and concluded that Mey İçki should not be subject to an administrative fine.
Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the Turkish market in July 2013 under the Law on Payment and Security Settlement Systems, Payment Services and Electronic Money. However, there are no limitations on or controls over cryptocurrencies, which is why many investors choose to invest their money in this area. While the interest in and impact of blockchain and cryptocurrencies are growing daily, the legal risks for blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms have yet to be fully understood.
The right of employees to annual paid leave is regulated by Articles 53 to 60 of the Labour Act and the Regulation on Annual Paid Leave. In principle, employees are expected to take their annual leave en bloc. Recent amendments to the act and the regulation maintain the right of employees to continuous rest, but provide flexibility to those who wish to divide their holidays into several parts in a given year.
The Supreme Court recently issued a decision concerning an employee's dismissal on the grounds of (among other things) recording a conversation with his supervisor without his consent. The court reversed a first-instance decision and ruled that the termination was lawful based on the fact that the employee had been handling personal business during working hours without authorisation and secretly recorded a conversation.
The Data Protection Authority recently published two guidelines on the implementation of Law 6698 on the Protection of Personal Data on its website. Although these guidelines are not pieces of legislation or legally binding, they include detailed information on the implementation of data protection concepts and procedures regulated under the law. Therefore, it is important to review these guidelines to understand the Data Protection Authority's perspective on data protection-related obligations.
The Regulation on Duty-Free Stores was recently published in the Official Gazette. It sets out requirements regarding the establishment and operation of duty-free stores, how goods enter and exit warehouses and record-keeping obligations for duty-free store operators. Under the regulation, the legal and penal penalties regarding the infringement of industrial property and IP rights under the new IP Code and other IP legislation will apply directly.
Following a 16-month investigation, the Competition Board recently published the outcome of a high-profile investigation into the ready-mixed concrete market. After evaluating the evidence, written defences and investigation file, the board decided not to render administrative fines, concluding that none of the undertakings had violated Article 4 of Law 4054.