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Avrupa Komisyonuna Dilekçemiz

Dear Barosso

Within the frame of the liberal economy, trade and commercial relations between merchants are carried out by means of post-dated checks in Turkey. The banks give out blank checks to their customers and the merchants use these checks in trading of goods and services by filling them out by giving 6 months, 1 year or longer periods of maturity to them.

The financial crisis in the world has affected profoundly our country; as a result, the merchants were unable to pay their post-dated checks on their due dates.

According to Article 38/8 of the Turkish Constitution, as amended in 2001 taking into regard the European Convention on Human Rights, “no one can be detained from his/her freedom due to only his/her failure to fulfill a contractual liability”. As such, prohibition of detainment of freedom due to only failure to fulfill a contractual liability (i.e., provision for “no imprisonment for debt”) has been added to our constitution. This provision, taken from the Article 1 of the Protocol constituting the 4th Annex to European Human Rights Convention, underlines that imprisonment due to failure to perform a contractual relation will be contrary to the human freedom and honor.

However, the legislator in Turkey has lately acted cunningly to circumvent this above referred provision of the Turkish Constitution. According to the current laws of our country, the businessmen who are unable to pay their checks are sentenced to imprisonment. If this is their first incident, the person who gives out a kite check is punished with a Judicial Fine equal to the amount written on each kite check and is sentenced to imprisonment only if he/she is unable to pay such Judicial Fine. To be more specific, the Judicial Fines in Turkey are fines that are paid to the Treasury of the State. In case a person indebted to the Treasury of the State because of a Judicial Fine is unable to make this payment within 30 days, he/she is punished by imprisonment for such number of days, which cannot exceed 730, equal to any unpaid amount divided by a figure varying between TL 20,- and 100,- to be determined by the judge based on the financial and other conditions of the debtor.

However, if the incident repeats, the person is then directly sentenced to imprisonment from 1 to 5 years.

It goes without saying that any merchant with good intentions would be able to pay out the check amount if he had the means, but if he/she could not indeed have made that payment, that merchant shall also be unable to pay the said Judicial Fine and inevitably end up in prison even as a result of his/her first incident.

As the merchants of Turkey, we are facing sanctions of imprisonment which cannot benefit from any probation and that are clearly contrary to the principles and standards of universal law.

In addition to that, the Constitution Court of Turkey has also resolved that the above referred sanctioning is not against the provisions of Turkish Constitution.

In Turkey there are currently around 168.000 people in prison while the total capacity of all correction facilities is only around 80.000. Therefore, you can easily imagine merchants lying on top of each other in jail and are facing all kinds of epidemic diseases, are living in difficult conditions, and some even die due to health problems given the circumstances.

In addition, by the effect of the financial crisis, the number of merchants who are currently sought by the authorities is around 200.000 and if all those persons are arrested, the population of the correction facilities will then reach 370.000.

Some of the merchants facing these conditions as a result of a penalty contrary to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the human honor commit suicide. We receive the death news of several persons everyday. Several of them sought by the authorities also attempt the same practice. In addition to all that, their household goods are attached by the execution officers because of the unpaid checks. Such practice has its effects not only on the merchant himself, but also on their families resulting in the loss of their homes, suspension of their children’s education, etc.

Please kindly try to make your best attempts to stop this cruel penalty applied to the bankrupt merchants in Turkey which is contrary to the principles of universal law and the European Convention on Human Rights in all respects. We see that as a humanity mission.

Best regards,

Günter Verheugen:

Siim Kalas:

Jacques Barrot:

Antonio Tajani:



Charlie McCreevy:


Nathalie de Basaldua :
Jonathan TODD:

Martin Power :

Professor Danuta Hübner:
Commissioner Joe Borg:

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