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Under Turkish law, contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, regardless of whether the agreement is verbal, electronic, or on a physical paper document. The Turkish Code of Obligations (TCO), the Turkish Civil Code, and the Turkish Commercial Code provide the legal basis for this. Notably, Articles 14(2) and 15(1) of the TCO equate contracts executed with a secure electronic signature (QES) to those bearing a handwritten signature in terms of enforceability.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

Welcome to Wilma’s comprehensive guide to the legal framework of electronic signatures in Türkiye. As a vital tool for modern businesses, understanding the intricacies of e-signature laws is crucial. This guide delves into the nuances of Turkish legislation, offering clarity and direction for the effective use of digital contracting.

Wilma E-Signature Legality: Türkiye

Standard Electronic Signature (SES)

Appropriate for commercial agreements between corporate entities, including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements, residential, and commercial lease agreements.

Qualified Electronic Signature (QES)

Required for certain contractual agreements like the assignment of claims, right of first refusal contracts, hire purchase agreements, promise of gift, publication contracts, real estate brokerage contracts, and IP license agreements.

UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT TYPES OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

Turkish law stipulates criteria for what constitutes a document in writing, including electronic formats. For a document to be considered as 'in writing', it must bear the signature of the debtor or relevant parties. While electronic documents like emails can be considered in written form, the defining factor is the presence of a signature, which could be a secure electronic signature as per the Turkish Code of Obligations.

The probative power of electronic documents is recognized under Turkish law, with secure electronic signatures offering definitive evidence until proven otherwise. The formation of contracts electronically is governed by the same principles as traditional contracts, with mutual consent being paramount. However, electronic contracts also necessitate specific conditions like clear mutual declaration of intent in an electronic environment.

CONTRACTUAL PRACTICES AND ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTATION

While electronic signatures are widely accepted for many types of agreements, there are specific use cases where digital or electronic processes are not typically appropriate. These include:

  • Contracts for the sale of real property and deeds.

  • Certain family law contracts, such as marriage contracts.

  • Certain inheritance law contracts, like wills.

  • Securitization contracts.

  • Articles of incorporation of a company.

  • IP transfer agreements.

USE CASES AND LIMITATIONS

In cases where a QES is not used, leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records. These records are admissible as commencement of evidence under Section 202 of the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure (TCCP) to support the existence, authenticity, and valid acceptance of a contract.

EVIDENCE IN COURT

This guide provides a general overview of electronic signatures' legality in Türkiye However, it is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing electronic signatures and digital transactions are subject to change. Wilma cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. For specific legal advice, consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

DISCLAIMER

Digital archiving in Türkiye is regulated to ensure the preservation, security, and accessibility of electronic documents. The laws dictate specific requirements for the digital archiving of both paper and electronic documents, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the integrity of the originals. Certain documents, especially those of historical or legal significance, must be archived following stringent guidelines. This process might require involvement from trusted third-party service providers or government bodies, depending on the nature of the documents.

DIGITAL ARCHIVING AND COMPLIANCE

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