I. Turkish Commercial Code in General
Turkish Maritime Law domestically regulated under the fifth book of Turkish Commercial Code, No 6102 (“TCC”). TCC has been accepted by Turkish Parliament on January 13, 2011 and has been in force since July 1, 2012.
The fifth book has been divided into 8 Chapters dealing with respectively, Ship [art. 931-1060], Owner and Joint Ownership [art. 1061-1087], Master [art. 1088-1118], Maritime Contracts [this chapter has been divided into five sections namely, Bareboat Charter Agreements (art. 1119-1130), Time Charter Agreements (art. 1131-1137), Contracts for the Carriage of Goods (art. 1138-1245), Time for Suit (1246) and Carriage of Passengers by Sea (art. 1247-1271)], Maritime Causalities [General Average (art. 1272-1285), Collision (art. 1286-1297], Salvage (art. 1298-1319), Maritime Liens (art. 1320-1327), Limitation of Liability and Compensation of Oil Pollution Claims (art. 1328-1349), Enforcement of Maritime Claims (art. 1350-1400).
II. Basic Principles
According to art. 1 of Code of Private International Law and International Civil Procedure Law (“CPIL”), International Conventions to which Turkey is a party, has priority over domestic law. Therefore, in the event a dispute is filed before Turkish Courts, the provisions of such conventions shall be applicable instead of corresponding provisions of TCC.
A. International Conventions
In the drafting process of the TCC, the Drafting Committee decided that the new provisions shall be in line with International Conventions. According to that decision, if one area of maritime private law has been regulated by an international convention, regardless of whether Turkey is a party or not, the provisions of the latest international convention in that area is to be adopted in to the domestic law.
Pursuant to such decision the provisions of the following international conventions have been adopted into the TCC:  International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1993,  Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea,  Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law with respect to Collisions between Vessels, 1910,  International Convention On Salvage, 1989,  International Convention on the Arrest of Ships, 1999,  Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1996  International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992,  International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992.
In the field of carriage of goods by sea, although Hague-Visby Rules is not the last dated convention, the drafting committee, taking into consideration its wide application and acceptance by the leading maritime countries, adopted directly the provisions of the Hague Rules as amended by Visby Rules and 1979 Protocol.
B. International Conventions to Which Turkey is Party
The new TCC has been published in the Official Gazette on February 14, 2011 and, as above mentioned, entered into force in July 1, 2012. Drafting Committee expected that at the time the new code has been entered into force, Turkey would become party to the aforementioned conventions.
At that date Turkey was not a party to  International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1993,  Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 2002  International Convention On Salvage, 1989,  International Convention on the Arrest of Ships, 1999. Such step has been taken only for International Convention for Salvage, 1989. Turkey ratified Salvage Convention on June 27, 2014 and the convention will enter in force for Turkey on June 27, 2015.
In the field of maritime liens and mortgages Turkey is still party to 1926 Convention. When carriage of goods by sea is at stake, Turkey is still party to un-amended version of the Hague Rules, 1924. Our hope is, within near future, Turkey will ratify all of the above mentioned conventions.
III. Publications in Foreign Language
In order to have detailed information relating to new Turkish Maritime Law in English language, the most convenient publication has been published under the leading of Prof. Dr. Kerim Atamer, who is one of the members of the Drafting Committee:
Kerim Atamer et al., Transport Law in Turkey, Edited by Kerim Atamer and Duygu Damar, Wolters Kluwers, Alphen aan den Rijn, 2013.
[Originally published as part of: Roger Blanpain (general ed.), Marc Huybrechts and Eric van Hooydonk (volume eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Laws “Transport Law”]
Asst. Prof. Dr. Cüneyt Süzel
İstanbul Bilgi University Law School