A closer look at the Turkish Court of Cassation’s supervisory power and its boundaries
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

A closer look at the Turkish Court of Cassation’s supervisory power and its boundaries

Sponsored by


Güldeniz Doğan Alkan and Dilan Sıla Kayalıca of Gün and Partners consider the supervisory power of Turkey’s Court of Cassation and its role as a court of precedents

The Turkish Court of Cassation has been one of the most important authorities of the Turkish judicial system, which has been on duty since mid-1800s. Since the establishment of the Court of Cassation, it has served as the supreme court of our judicial justice system. But the recent decisions of the Court of Cassation made us question its supervisory power as the supreme court as well as the boundaries of this power.

Until the regional courts of appeal were established in 2016, only first instance courts and the Court of Cassation were operational. During this era, the Court of Cassation used its judicial power as a review of expediency by examining the merits of cases as well – in addition to the review of legitimacy – since this was the natural requirement of the binary judicial system which was in force at that time.

However, after the establishment of the regional courts of appeal in 2016, a triple judiciary system was adopted and in this system the regional court of appeal is an intermediary step between the first instance courts and the Court of Cassation. In this new period post-2016, the main duty assigned to the Court of Cassation is to act as a court of precedents. The Court of Cassation is not expected or entitled to conduct a review of expediency.

However, within the last two years, particularly in some reversing decisions rendered by the Court of Cassation in disputes related to the trademark and design law, the relevant chamber acted like inferior courts and examined the merits of the cases, carried out its own assessment by partially or fully ignoring the expert reports, as well as the initial considerations of inferior courts, mostly on technical matters related particularly to the merits of the case, such as:

  • Comparison of trademarks;

  • Comparison of the goods/services;

  • Attentiveness of the relevant consumer group; and

  • Well-known status of trademarks

This has, therefore, exceeded the boundaries of its supervisory power.

Legislative regulations and the intended purpose of the system foresee that the appeal examination to be performed by the Court of Cassation is limited to a legitimacy examination.

For example, the decisions rendered by inferior courts (both first instance courts and regional courts of appeal) shall be examined solely in respect of its compliance with laws. This follows that a reversing decision to be issued by the Court of Cassation may not substitute the decisions of inferior courts and may not violate the discretionary power vested in specialised courts.

Performance of such examination by the Court of Cassation would mean annulment or disabling of the powers and duties assigned to the regional courts of appeal, which have jurisdiction to review the first instance courts’ decisions in terms of both expediency and legitimacy.

If the Court of Cassation finds the inferior courts’ decisions unlawful as a result of its legitimacy examination, it should render reversal decisions by not eliminating the discretion of the judges of inferior courts. For instance, the Court of Cassation may simply indicate which rule of law is incorrectly applied and – possibly – how it should have been applied.

Otherwise, if the Court of Cassation examines the merits of each case in a manner exceeding the scope of a legitimacy examination, the long years of examination and assessment performed by the judges of inferior courts based on their areas of special expertise, would become dysfunctional and vain.

Also, the workload of the Court of Cassation would not be reduced as intended by the transition into the triple justice system, on the contrary, it would increase, and the duties of the Court of Cassation as a court of precedents would be impeded as well.

It is hoped that the Court of Cassation will reconsider its supervisory power as well as the boundaries of this power and focus on its role to act as a court of precedents again, so that the case law of the Turkish courts may develop and flourish.


Güldeniz Doğan Alkan

Partner, Gün + Partners

E: guldeniz.dogan@gun.av.tr


Dilan Sıla Kayalıca

Senior associate, Gün + Partners

E: dilan.aslan@gun.av.tr



more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

The firm was among multiple winners at a record-breaking 2024 ceremony held in London on April 11
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The Americas research cycle has commenced. Do not miss this opportunity to nominate your work!
Increased and new patent fees could affect prosecution strategies for law firms and companies, according to sources
Five former Oblon lawyers felt that joining Merchant & Gould would help them offer the right prices to entice clients
The UK may not be a UPC member but its firms are still acting in proceedings, with Carpmaels among the most prominent
Naomi Pearce of Pearce IP shares how she is helping her firm become a life sciences leader and how generous policies have helped attract top talent
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal filed by Ocado, in what was a key test for transparency at the new court
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer or professional about their life and career
INTA is calling out ‘immoral’ unregistered attendees at the association’s annual meeting, but the debate is more nuanced
Gift this article