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Basics of Turkish corporate law

Basics of Turkish corporate law

The regulations on Turkish corporate law can be found both in the commercial code and in the law of obligations. Further laws are to be complied with by banks, insurance companies or companies noted on the stock exchange.
Foreign investors especially have to provide a series of documents in order to be able to establish a company.

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Relevant statutes

The regulations for associations, the trusts,  civil partnerships and the cooperatives, can be found in the law of obligations. These regulations also provide for an ordinary company (adi şirket). An important issue for the investors are the corporate forms provided for in the Turkish commercial code.
Specific additional laws need to be complied with by banks, insurances and companies quoted on the stock exchange.

Trade register

Commercial companies are legal entities and obtain this status through their registration in the trade register; at the same time, they obtain the status as a merchant. Corporate forms other than those provided for and conclusively listed in the Turkish commercial code are not available for commercial companies (numerus clausus).


It has been the intention for some years to introduce the possibility of establishing limited companies with only one partner, by means of a revision of the Turkish commercial code. At present, the establishment of a Ltd. Şti. (a private limited company) mandatorily requires two shareholders, while an A.Ş. (a public limited company) requires five shareholders.

Documents required for the establishment of a company

The following documents are always required if foreigners intend to establish a company, provided that the future shareholders are companies:

  • Excerpt from the trade register
  • Certificate of activity - to be issued by the competent chamber of industry and commerce
  • Document appointing a representative
  • Copies of directors' passports
  • Corporate resolution on the establishment of a company in Turkey
  • List of directors' signatures

If the foreign future shareholders are individuals:

  • Copies of passports (ID cards are not sufficient)
  • Passport photographs

All copies must be notarised and be furnished with an Apostille in accordance with the Hague Convention, which constitutes a superordinate certification of notarisations issued by the state.

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