Investing in Telecommunications Sector in Turkey
I. General Legal Environment
• Foreign direct investment in Turkey is protected by a specific law dated 2003. The Law brings investors and investments in line with international standards. It stipulates essentially the Principe of “national treatment”, and guarantees foreign investors’ rights regarding to expropriation, nationalization and transfers of profit, dispute settlement rules, valuation of non-cash capital, and employment of expatriates.
• The secondary legislation regarding to the implementation of the foreign direct investment law consists of specifying the procedures and principles to be applied.
• In order to pursue commercial activities in Turkey foreign investors need to create or acquire a company (one type of the limited liability companies for telecoms sector). In the case of non commercial presence in the country to establish a liaison office is necessary.
• For the employment of expatriates; they are required to obtain a work permit before they start to work in Turkey. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security is responsible of the processing of the applications of companies that wish to employ expatriates. A work permit is valid in the condition that a visa and/or residence permit is also granted. Applications are processed and answered within a maximum 90 day period by the Ministry.
II. Legal Requirements of Telecommunications Sector
• Turkish Telecommunication Authority (“TA” Information Technologies and Communication Authority) is the unique institution competent to regulates/decides on the market. According to the Electronic Communication Law, telecommunication services mentioned in the relevant regulations may only be provided by operators authorized by the TA.
• Investors in telecommunications sector in Turkey must fulfill some conditions deriving from the Electronic Communication Law and the secondary legislation. In the previous Regime, telecommunications sector had been highly regulated. Operators had to be granted a specific license for each of the services to be provided. After the adoption of the Electronic Communication Law at November 2008 and the publication of The Authorization Regulation at 28 may 2009, it has to be said a new “Regime” has begun.
• Authorization regime adopted by the new regulation is simplified. For the services which the utilization of scarce sources are needed (such as numbers and frequencies), Operators must have been granted the right of use by TA. For the rest of the services accomplishment of the notification procedure to the TA is sufficient for being authorized.