Interview with lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu.

interview with the Turkish lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu on family law, buying property, and getting material compensations
interview with attorney Hakan Uncuoglu

Interview with lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu, one of the founders of the law office lawyers Seyhan in Ankara. Lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu is the author of numerous articles on the foreign citizens protection in Turkey.

Hakan Uncuoglu has wide experience in judicial protection of foreign citizens in such law fields as family law (divorce proceedings in Turkey, division of property, parental rights), commercial law, consumer law, criminal law. Lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu also specialises in winning compensations for moral and material damage.

Lawyer Hakan Uncuoglu speaks Russian and English languages.

In your opinion, which problems do the foreign nationals in Turkey face most of all?

I have been working in the field of judicial protection of foreign nationals in Turkey for many years. According to my experience, I can say that the biggest problem of foreign nationals is the lack of awareness about Legal System of Turkey. In this case many fields of law can be mentioned: family law (divorce problems in Turkey, the division of property, parental rights and alimony), the acquisition of real estate in Turkey (making up contracts, problems getting Tapu), legal protection of tourists injured in road accident in Turkey, legal advice for foreign companies doing business in Turkey. It is always important to remember that whatever the legal problem is, the protection of foreign nationals is provided for by the legislation of Turkey, and it is possible to protect legal rights effectively.

In your answer first of all you have mentioned family law problems. Really divorce proceedings have become the topic of great interest among foreigners. When marriage ends how the division of material property is carried out in Turkey?

When getting married as well as being in marriage, it is possible to make a prenuptial agreement that will govern the property regime of the spouses. In the case the marriage contract was not made, the property division will be carried out under the regime established by the Turkish Civil Code. According to this regime, the spouses' property can be divided into two categories.

1) Property acquired during marriage. For example, income from employment, property and wealth acquired during marriage etc.

2) Private property of the spouses. The property which one of the spouses has got by inheritance, as a result of donation and so on.

An application for the property division can be submitted together with the application for divorce, but the regime will come into force after the divorce proceedings. One of the possible problems during property division process is the attempt to sell the property after divorce. To avoid this, it is necessary to seize the property in the court and appoint a list of prohibited transactions. You can read more about divorce in Turkey on our website.

How does the court decide which parent will have custody of their child after divorce?

It is indeed one of the most serious questions during the divorce, especially when it comes to mixed marriages. Before making a decision on which of the parents will be given custody of the child, the court must consider such factors as the cause of divorce, the psychological state of the spouses, their personal qualities, the child's age and so on. Usually, if the child is small, the Primary custody is usually awarded to mother. However if comes clear that the child's mother has drug or alcohol addiction, mental illnesses, leads unhealthy lifestyle which contradics the rules of morality, the Primary custody of a child may not be given to her.

What should a foreign woman do if the child's father doesn't admit paternity? Does a child born out of wedlock have rights to get alimony payments?

If a foreign woman has a child from a Turkish citizen, and the father does not want to admit it, it is possible to establish paternity in court. Paternity can be established by DNA expertise. Once paternity is established, it is necessary to apply to the court for alimony. The father will be obliged to pay the amount of alimony established by the court.

Let's talk about the foreign tourists who have been involved into traffic accidents in Turkey. Unfortunately such cases happen very often in Turkey. What should a person do if he gets into a traffic accident in Turkey?

Yes, you are right, in recent years the terrible traffic accidents in Turkey, especilally in such touristic cities as Antalya, Alanya, Side, Manavgat, Kemer have become a big problem, a number of foreign citizens were seriously injured and lost their lives. As a rule, many tourists involved in the accident can not get compensation for moral and physical damage, or the amount of compensation is ultimately negligible.

Our law firm is ready to offer free legal advice for those who have been involved into the traffic accident in Turkey. The biggest number of material compensation lawsuits in Turkey is carried on by Seyhan law office. Moreover, the largest material compensation ever won by a foreign citizen in Turkey was awarded to the client of our law office.

To those foreigners who got injured or whose relatives died in a traffic accident I would recommend to keep the documents related to the accident: voucher, police evidence, the doctor's conclusion and so on. Our professional lawyers will be glad to help foreigners in such a difficult situation.

What kinds of material compensations are provided to the victims of traffic accidents in Turkey?

The answer to this question depends on whether the tourist has died or got injured in an accident.

Let's consider the case of death. If the deceased citizen was married then his/her spouse or children have the right to claim the compensation for material damage due to the loss of the breadwinner. If the victim of accident wasn't married then the compensation can be claimed by the parents of the deceased foreigner. At the same time, husband / wife, parents and other relatives of the deceased citizen are entitled to receive the compensation for moral damage.

If a foreign citizen was injured in the accident, the amount of compensation will vary according to the degree of health damage. In the case of total or temporary disability, required medical treatment, the foreign citizen is entitled to get the compensation for material damage. At the same time the victim of traffic accident may open a court case to claim for the moral damage compensation.

Let's move to a more positive topic. It's common knowledge that Turkey has become one of the most popular tourist destinations, there are many foreign people who doesnt only come for vacation every year but want to buy a summerhouse there. How to avoid being deceived?

When buying real estate in Turkey it is very important to check all the authorizing documents of the object in the cadastral chamber, as well as, of course, make up a contract of sale correctly. In order not to face problems while selecting and purchasing real estate, I would advise to consult with a competent lawyer in Turkey.

Can a foreign national who has acquired a property in Turkey, obtain a residence permit in Turkey?

Yes, definitely a citizen of another country, has a right to get a short-term residence permit on the basis of being an owner of real estate in Turkey. We wrote a detailed article about the kinds of residence permit in Turkey and the conditions of getting residence permit for foreign citizens.

In Turkey there are many construction companies which advertise new projects. What should a foreign citizen do if the purchased real estate object does not meet the promises of the builder, and the buyer faces with the problems?

In recent years such area of law as consumer rights protection has greatly developed in Turkey. A foreign citizen who buys real estate in Turkey is considered to be the consumer. According to the laws of the Turkish Republic, if the purchased real estate does not meet the standars stated by the construction company, and there are any problems, then the property owner has the right to apply for getting material compensation within 5 years from the date of purchase.