Protection of the consumer in Turkey is guaranteed by the Constitution. Article 172 of the Constitution stipulates that “the State takes measures to protect and inform consumers and encourages their initiatives to protect themselves”. Thus, after 1982, chambers, associations, foundations and other professional and voluntary organizations started to take part in activities for the protection of consumer rights.
Today, there are 50 consumer organizations working for the protection of the consumers.
The first consumer association was established by housewives and journalists in 1986. It was called the Association to Protect All Consumers. The Association for Consumer Rights and TÜKODER were set up after 1992. The on-going studies for protecting consumers were centralized with the establishment of the Directorate General of Protection of Consumers and Competition as an integral part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 1993, and consequently faster steps had been taken on the path to enhance consumers’ rights. The enactment of Law No. 4077 for the Protection of the Consumer, on September 8th, 1995, was a turning point in this regard. This law was prepared in accordance with a proconsumer approach and the consumer protection policies of the EU, and also took into consideration the problems of Turkish consumers. This law incorporated a number of laws, statutes, directives and regulations concerning the protection of the consumer under a single text which amounted to a framework code.
This Law had the objectives of protecting the health, security and economic interests of the consumer in line with public interests, taking measures to inform and educate the customer as well as to protect the consumer from environmental dangers, making sure that consumers exercise their rightfor compensation, and encouraging both the initiatives of the consumers to protect themselves and voluntary organizations to contribute to the formulation of policies in this regard. It also introduced to the Turkish legal system new institutions such as consumer courts, an Arbitration Council for Consumer Problems and a Council of Consumers, and taught Turkish consumers their rights as well as the ways and means to exercise these rights.
This law has been extensively reviewed and thoroughly amended in order to achieve full harmonization with the EU consumer legislation and to provide much more effective protection for consumers. In its amended form it went into effect on June 14th, 2003 under Law No. 4822. Within this framework, educational programs were prepared and implemented to inform the members of Arbitration Councils for Consumer Problems of new legal amendments and administrative arrangements, including practical points of recent statutes and regulations. Moreover, the Law for Protection against Unfair Competition came into effect in 1994 and a Competition Board was established with the objective of effectively taking under control all agreements, takeovers, decisions and synchronized actions that break the rules of competition; preventing monopolizations and abuse of dominant positions; providing equal opportunity for all enterprises in the market; and protecting the rights and interests of the consumer.
By the modification of the law made in 2003, the Board of Consumer Issues Referees have been given the authority to adopt binding resolutions to an extent (792,012 YTL for the year 2007).
The number of the Consumer Courts in Turkey had reached to 26.
Law No. 5464 on Bank Cards and Credit Cards was passed by the TGNA on February 23rd, 2006.
Four application legislations concerning house finance have been enacted.
The common project, initiated by the Ministry of Industry & Trade of Republic of Turkey and the Ministry of Protecting the Consumers, Food, and Agriculture of Government of Federal Republic of Germany, has been completed in 2007.
Also, a consumer portal was formed and is planned to come into service towards the end of 2008.