Law No: 7726 on Amendments to Certain Laws (the “Law”) came into force on 26 March 2020. Pursuant to Temporary Article 1 of the Law, the majority of legal periods have stopped running in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, all periods relating to the origination, use or termination of a right, such as limitation periods for filing lawsuits, initiating debt collection proceedings or objections, as well as all periods set out in laws containing procedural regulations, have retroactively stopped running between 13 March 2020 and 30 April 2020. This period can be extended once for a further 6 months by a Presidential Decree.
Any periods that were 15 days or less on the date on which legal periods stopped running, will be deemed to have ended 15 days after the day on which legal periods begin to run.
Periods relating to protective orders such as detention on remand, arrest or seizure of property, or procedures relating to completion of interim injunctions, as well as limitation periods for crimes, minor offences, administative sanctions and disciplinary/preventive imprisonment will not be affected by this regulation.
It is important to note that state agencies’ practice with regards the application of the Law may vary. For instance, the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TPTO) has confirmed on its website that the Law does apply to legal periods relating to filings at the TPTO. Similarly, the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre has confirmed in its circular dated 30 March 2020 that legal periods such as those relating to mandatory administrative applications, objections against administrative actions and limitation periods for lawsuits are within the scope of the Law. On the other hand, the Competition Authority is yet to make an official announcement relating to this matter and unofficial information provided by the Authority is that, for the time being, the Law does not apply to legal periods relating to filings before the Authority.
Yiğit Kaynar, Esq.