In order to become a lawyer in Turkey, one must fulfill the “requirements for admission to the legal profession” set forth in Law No. 1136 Attorneyship Law. One of these requirements is to be a “citizen of the Republic of Turkey.” Therefore, a foreigner can not practice law in Turkey. (There is an exception.) If foreigners acquire Turkish citizenship, they must also fulfill the other requirements to practice law in Turkey.
To become a lawyer in Turkey, one must:
- Be a citizen of the Republic of Turkey
- Graduate from a Turkish law faculty or have graduated from a foreign law faculty and passed successful exams in the subjects missing from the Turkish law faculty programs
- Complete the lawyer internship and obtain the internship completion certificate
- Reside in the district of the bar association to which they will be registered
- It is forbidden for lawyers in Turkey to engage in commercial activities.
A person cannot practice law if they have been sentenced to more than two years in prison for an intentional crime, committed crimes against state security, embezzlement, bribery, theft, fraud, forgery, misuse of trust, fraudulent bankruptcy, bid-rigging, laundering of assets obtained from a crime, or smuggling.
Foreign Law Firm Partnership
The only exception for a foreigner to practice law in Turkey is to establish a foreign law firm partnership that can be established to promote foreign investment in Turkey. A law firm partnership in Turkey is a legal entity formed by one or more lawyers registered with any of the bars established in the same city to practice their profession. The operation of the law firm partnership is a professional activity and not a commercial one. Therefore, it is taxed similarly to sole proprietorships. The name of the law firm partnership is determined by adding the words “Law Firm Partnership” to one or more of the partners’ names and/or surnames.
By establishing a foreign law firm partnership in Turkey, legal consultancy services may only be provided on foreign legal systems and international law matters. Even if a Turkish lawyer is employed in this law firm partnership, they will also be subject to this restriction. Therefore, a foreign law firm partnership can only provide legal consulting services.
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