The New Check Regime of Turkey
The Turkish Parliament has recently adopted a legislation that brings down penalties on bounced checks. BY SAFAK HERDEM
The Turkish Parliament has recently adopted a legislation that
brings down penalties on bounced checks. Accordingly, contrary to
the former legislation the issuers of bounced checks will only be
subject to administrative fine rather than imprisonment.
During the years of high inflation and the several economic crises in Turkey, the checks especially by textile and raw materials sector have been preferred as the payment tool in Turkey.
The economic conditions and the sanctions of imprisonment during the years that the former laws, Law No 5941 and Law No 3167 were in effect, has required a new radical approach to check regime due to many increasing social problems such of increase in prisons, broken homes, etc. As a reality of patriarchal structure of Turkish society and perception of “men make houses women make homes”, many women have been stuck in a situation of waiting their men to be released from the prison.
The parliament has considered such a social reaction and handled
the check legislation and in contrary to the conventional principles
brought new approach to the check regime and proceed complying with
the principle of “No one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on
the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.” as
defined in constitution.
The new law, Law no: 6273 has entered into force by being published in the Official Gazette of 3 February 2012. Accordingly, the banks now have the obligation to keep their check account customers’ records by Central Bank of Republic of Turkey for ten years. In addition the minimum payment obligation imposed to banks has increased from TRY 600 to TRY 1000 for each check.
The major chance introduced by new law with regard to the check regime has been provided by the amendment of article 5 of Law No: 5941 that imposes criminal sanctions to the issuers of bounced checks.
According to the article 3 of new law (Law No: 6273), the issuer of a bounced check may only be subject to administrative fine only in cases where the complainant applies to prosecution offices within six months of submission of check. The administrative sanctions are also imposed to managing persons in cases where the issuer of a bounced check is legal person. In contrary to the Law No: 5941, persons who issue bounced checks are still restricted to issue new checks or to open check accounts however in cases where the check amount and the interest shall be calculated in accordance to the Law no 3095 is fully paid, then the restriction is abolished by prosecutors.
The restriction decisions are also recorded by
Central Bank of Republic of Turkey (TCMB) for ten years and charged off ex officio.
Persons who are prohibited from issuing checks or opening checking accounts are
obliged to return any check leaves they have to the banks. No new checking
account may be opened in the name of these persons. All the information relating
to a decision about check issuance or checking account prohibitions must be
declared to the TCMB.
No postdated check until 31 December 2017
In contrary to the principle of “paid at sight” and in parallel with the provisions of Law no 5941, the new law, Law No: 6273 also repeals the postdated checks until 31 December 2017.According to the provisional clause 3/5 of Law No 6273, submission of a postdated check before the date of 31 December 2017 is null and void that means no legal proceeding shall be initiated for the postdated checks issued before and until 31 December 2017.
About the Author
Safak Herdem is a partner at Herdem & Co., a Turkish law firm.