Mandatory mediation for commercial disputes was recently introduced by the Law on Legal Procedures to Initiate Proceedings for Monetary Receivables arising out of Subscription Agreements. As a result, an application for mediation is a condition for bringing a legal action before the courts, and a case will be dismissed on procedural grounds if the claimant in a commercial action fails to fulfil this obligation.
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law adopts the principles of competence-competence and the separability of arbitration agreements. Under these principles, an arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, including any objection with respect to the existence and validity of an arbitration agreement. In 2001 the International Arbitration Law introduced these principles to Turkish legislation.
Under the International Arbitration Law, if a party initiates court proceedings to resolve a dispute which falls within the scope of an arbitration agreement, the counterparty can object to the court's jurisdiction based on said agreement. The submission of objections and the resolution of disputes concerning the validity of an arbitration agreement are subject to the Civil Procedure Law. If a court accepts such an objection, it will dismiss the lawsuit on procedural grounds.
The Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC) has provided dispute resolution services to Turkish and foreign entities through arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution processes since the introduction of the ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules in 2015. The Global Arbitration Review has listed ISTAC among the institutions worth a closer look, and this recognition has strengthened its aspiration to become a regional hub for dispute resolution for companies and individuals from Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
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.
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.