Dispute Resolution in Turkey: Understanding the Mandatory Mediation Process Under Turkish Law

If you have any questions on mandatory mediation in Turkish Law, please contact us, and UT Legal will be happy to assist you.

Dispute resolution by mediation is not new in Turkish Law. It has been available for many years to all Turkish citizens and foreign nationals with a dispute that cannot be resolved amicably.  However, because of long delays in the courts due to high caseloads and lengthy litigation processes, there is now a growing tendency among individuals and businesses to prefer an alternative dispute resolution method, without appealing to the courts. Furthermore, through the years, mediation has been made, in many cases, a compulsory first step in dispute resolution, before someone is allowed to file a case.

In this post, we will try to explain how mandatory mediation, as well as optional, non-compulsory mediation, work under Turkish law.

What Is Mandatory Mediation Under Turkish Law?

Mandatory mediation, as the name suggests, is a compulsory first step that must be undertaken before filing a lawsuit in certain types of disputes under Turkish Law. This process involves the intervention of a neutral third party, the mediator, who facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties involved in the dispute.

To avoid confusion, it must be made clear that Turkish Law does not mandate mediation as the only method for resolving a dispute. It only makes it a mandatory first step in the litigation process. The right of all citizens to resort to the courts for the administration of justice is not affected.

What Is the Scope of Mandatory Mediation Under Turkish Law?

The scope of mandatory mediation in Turkey has expanded over time, encompassing various legal areas, and includes:

  1. Labour disputes. Labour Courts Law No. 7036 made it compulsory to apply for mediation in all cases concerning employee or employer receivables and compensations based on employment contracts, and for reinstatement claims.
  2. All commercial disputes involving monetary receivables and compensation claims under article 5 of the Turkish Commercial Code No. 6102, and other relevant laws.
  3. Violation of consumer rights. Under the Consumer Protection Law No. 6502, mediation is now compulsory.
  4. Since September 1, 2023: rental disputes (excluding court-ordered evictions), the distribution of movable and immovable assets, the elimination of partnerships, condominium disputes and all other neighbour disputes.

Also, in all other cases where mediation is not mandatory by law, the parties are free to mutually agree to solve their differences through mediation, either as the first step before litigation, or as the one and only step.

What Are the Benefits of Mandatory Mediation Under Turkish Law?

Mediation in Turkey has several benefits, which is why it is often preferred:

  1. Reduced Litigation Costs: Mediation can significantly reduce the overall cost of resolving a dispute.
  2. Speedier Resolution: The overall process is simpler, faster and more efficient.
  3. Maintenance of Confidentiality: Unlike litigation, mediation proceedings are confidential, and can thus protect sensitive information that the parties want to keep private.

How does the Mediation Process Work under Turkish Law?

For those interested, the details of the mediation process are defined in Mediation Law No. 6100 of 2013. In general terms, the steps of the procedure are as follows:

  1. Application to the Mediation Office: The process starts with the parties filing an application to the Mediation Office in the relevant court district.
  2. Appointment of the Mediator: The Mediation Office appoints a mediator from a list of qualified mediators.
  3. Mediation Meetings: The mediator calls and conducts one or more meetings with the parties to facilitate communication, identify common ground, and explore potential solutions.
  4. Mediation Agreement: If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator prepares the written mediation agreement that sets out the terms of the settlement.
  5. Acceptance and Enforcement: The parties sign the mediation agreement and submit it to the court to be made official and enforceable.
  6. In Case of Failure to Reach an Agreement: If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the mediation process is terminated, and the parties are free to take their case to the courts.

Summing up, we believe that the introduction of mandatory mediation in Turkey has played a significant role in reducing the workload of the courts and in improving the administration of justice. By promoting amicable settlements and reducing the reliance on litigation, mediation has contributed to a more efficient, cost-effective, and less competitive conflict management system. We believe that the mediation process should be made compulsory for even more disputes.

If you have any questions on mandatory mediation and whether it is required in your dispute in Turkey, please contact us, and we will be happy to assist you.


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