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Turkey Rallying (for) the Lira: A Buzz Interview with Zahide Altunbas Sancak of Guleryuz Partners

Buzz Interview with Zahide Altunbas Sancak of Guleryuz Partners

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Strong efforts to protect the lira while keeping the economy healthy and vibrant in a time of global turmoil and uncertainty is the name of the game in Turkey, according to Guleryuz Partners Partner Zahide Altunbas Sancak.

“The overall financial situation and the depreciation of the Turkish lira have led to a number of legislative updates seeking to protect it,” Altunbas Sancak begins. “The financial situation directly impacts the political climate – of course, the reasons for this are many: the global crisis, rising inflation, and supply chain issues, to name but a few,” she says. “The Turkish government has instituted a number of protection measures for keeping the lira healthy, including implementing currency appreciation controls until the end of this year,” she explains. 

“Furthermore, there were credit restrictions imposed on borrowing in Turkish lira – if a company is holding more than TRY 15 million in foreign currency, it can no longer borrow in lira.” According to Altunbas Sancak, the idea of this control is “to prevent foreign currency speculation,” but she argues that the regulation “threads dangerously closely to capital control measures.” Additionally, the current status of the financial ecosystem in Turkey is influenced by the upcoming elections that should normally take place next year but are expected to happen sooner, in the face of opposition pressure. However, “no official communications have been made yet as to when they will occur.”

Altunbas Sancak also reports there has been a legislative update regulating assets. “Now, if unregistered assets are brought into the country, for example, money – it can be registered with a bank with a minimal tax burden without any inquiries made by the bank concerning the source,” she says. This measure, applicable until March 2023, seeks to encourage people to “introduce foreign assets into the local economy.”

Moreover, the war in Ukraine, the EU and US Russia-sanctions-related fallout, and the increase in e-commerce sector volume have led to “more regulatory updates to the Turkish ecosystem,” Altunbas Sancak explains. “As for the ongoing war in Ukraine and its impact on Turkey – the country had previously been acting and will continue to act as a trade corridor of sorts between Russia and western countries,” she says. The war has no doubt disrupted trade in the area, and “some legislative measures have been announced on the restriction of certain exports, such as some food items”, she adds, stressing that there has been a surge of client inquiries related to the war and, “especially, on Turkish multinational companies’ standing on US and EU sanctions.”

Finally, Altunbas Sancak says that the “legislator has started to take action with regulating the rapidly growing e-commerce sector. The government is attempting to implement a new competition framework for intermediate service providers, as well as vendors – there will be licensing requirements which will differentiate between the size of these platforms,” she explains. “Some of these changes will take hold by the end of the year, while others will be implemented by 2024 and 2025 – although we have already started receiving client inquiries,” Altunbas Sancak concludes.

Guleryuz & Partners at a Glance

Güleryüz & Partners Attorneys at Law is an Istanbul based law firm offering a broad scope of high-quality legal services to domestic and multinational clients across a wide range of regulated and non-regulated industries. The Firm is comprised of energetic young professionals, led by experienced lawyers with a proven track record of working in the most demanding environments possible. Our team has comprehensive experience in serving clients in connection with a full breadth of Turkish law matters including Litigation & Dispute Resolution, M&A, Wealth Management & Family Businesses, General Corporate & Contract Law, Real Estate & Construction, Enforcement and Bankruptcy Proceedings, Labor Law, Administrative Law, and Anti-Corruption & White-Collar Crimes. 

Our core business culture is centered on integrity, dedication to clients’ needs, and excellence of legal advice and services. Therefore, our primary objective is to ensure the most personalized and reliable legal service for our clients. In pursuit of this objective, the international academic backgrounds of our partners at prestigious universities in USA, UK and Germany coupled with more than ten years of past experience at top tier Turkish law firms enhances the visionary practice of the Firm.

We blend our practical expertise with our outstanding grasp of legal theory in order to provide our clients with legal services of unmatched quality. Our clients range from multinational companies where we provide a level of attention normally only expected from in-house counsels in order to timely manage every aspect of the clients’ legal needs, to individuals for whom we make their objectives ours in order to provide comfort and ease of life. While we always put client service above all, we are proud to be on a quest to make reliable legal information available for everyone. Hence, we are constantly authoring articles on a broad scope of legal topics for respectable publications including Bloomberg Businessweek and the monthly magazine TR Monitor.

While Güleryüz & Partners operates mainly in Turkish and English, we are capable of providing legal services in French, German and Russian as well. The Firm also has an associated office in Ankara.

You can learn more about the Firm at guleryuz.av.tr