Can Foreigners Set up Association in Turkey?


One of the most important effects of globalization in recent years is the dynamism in international work and trade. Turkey has begun to be preferred by many foreigners with its young population, developed infrastructure, the geopolitical location that connects three continents, and the investment advantages it provides in the region. For this reason, many foreign investors or employees have settled in Turkey and continue their activities in Turkey.

In addition, the world's leading foreign companies have started to prefer different cities from the west to the east of Turkey to reinvest. Foreigners, who were integrated into other Turkish cities in time, demanded to take active roles in various civil societies. At the end of this, this right was provided to foreigners by making arrangements in the Associations Law.



Law on Associations in Turkey

 As of 2001, the 33rd article of the Constitution has guaranteed the freedom of association in Turkey. According to the relevant article, everybody has the right to establish an association, become a member, and quit membership without prior notice. However, some situations in which freedom of association may be restricted are also specified in the Constitution. According to the Constitution, freedom of association can be restricted for national security, public order, prevention of crime, general health, general morality, and protection of the liberty of others, and the law can only make this restriction. Furthermore, according to Article 16 of the Constitution, the freedom of association, which is considered within the scope of fundamental rights and freedoms, can be restricted for foreigners, provided that it complies with international law.


Foreigners' Freedom of Association in Turkey

 According to Article 93 of the Turkish Civil Code, numbered 4721, real foreign persons who have the right to settle in Turkey can establish an association or become members of these associations. According to this article, for a foreigner to be a member of an association in Turkey, he/she must have a valid residence permit in Turkey. In addition, there is no legal obstacle for Turkish citizens residing abroad and holding dual citizenship to establish or become a member of associations in Turkey. Residence permit holders who will establish an association in Turkey must provide the following documents. The statute, Association Statement of Incorporation, Lease Contract or Consent, and Notification List. By-laws of the association are prepared in 4 copies and signed by all founding members. In addition, if the office of the association is rented, the lease contract will be sufficient. If it is allocated to the association free of charge, the consent letter will be adequate. Applications for association establishment should be made to the Office of Associations in your city.



How Can Foreign Associations Open Branches In Turkey?

According to the Associations Law, foreign associations have no obstacle to open a legal branch in Turkey. Associations give two Establishment Declarations signed by at least three persons, together with the authority they receive from the boards. The documents described below are given to the local administrative officer of the city where the branch will be opened.

  • 2 approved by-laws of the association,
  • Founders' identity photocopies,
  • Residence permits of foreign founders in Turkey,
  • The list indicating the name, surname, place of residence, and signatures of the temporary board members and the person or persons authorized to receive the notification,
  • Copy of the decision of the authority given to the board of directors,
  • Photocopy of the conclusion of the power given to those appointed as founders

 A period of 60 days has been set for the examination of the applications of the relevant associations. At the end of this process, the associations deemed appropriate are allowed to open branches in Turkey. However, we would like to remind you that it is possible that associations may not be allowed to open branches in terms of regulation and field of activity. Finally, the branch establishment notification is sent to the Ministry of Interior by the provincial associations' directorate within seven days.


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