Sanctions Regime in Turkey

Money laundering is one of the most talked-about and on-agenda topics in Turkey, especially in recent years. With the globalization of the world economy, money laundering has become a serious problem that threatens not only Turkey but also all the countries aorund the world. The idea underlying the legal arrangements made within the framework of the prevention of money laundering is to fight against organized financial crimes. The first method followed for the prevention of money laundering is to define the act of money laundering as a crime in the law. However, in the laundering process, it is extremely difficult to detect the crime, as money is tried to be given a legal appearance by using the financial system. For this reason, it is imperative to take regulatory and supervisory measures to prevent money laundering within the financial system. On the other hand, the act of money laundering has a transboundary nature. Money launderers generally prefer countries where control over the financial system is weak, anti-money laundering legislation is absent or flexible. Therefore, international cooperation is important in the fight against money laundering.

How is crime and penalty of money laundering in Turkey?

Money laundering is regulated in Article 282 of the TPC. Money laundering refers to transactions made to take advantage of illegitimate gains by hiding the illegal source of money without fear of punishment of those who hold the laundered money. In order for this crime to be committed, the perpetrator’s act must be in the nature of a crime according to criminal law. In addition, the values gained through money laundering crimes enter the legal economic system, criminals can easily benefit from an undeserved wealth and the income balance changes in favor of these people. As a result, the prestige of the current system in the eyes of society is damaged and leads to distrust. The sanction foreseen for the basic form of this crime is a prison sentence of 3 to 7 years and a judicial fine of up to 20,000 days.

Current anti-money laundering regulations in Turkey

The penalty for money laundering varies from country to country. In Turkey, transactions are carried out by law no. 4208. Making money and laundering money are two separate crimes. Money laundering methods can be used individually or several different methods can be used within the same business. The most common ways have led to the involvement of many innocent people in the organization and being punished for this crime.

Established in 1996, MASAK undertakes effective tasks in laundering proceeds of crime and creating a safe society. The institution, which evaluates the information obtained for the determination of the application in the fastest way, analyzes it in the best way, and conveys the results to the relevant units, continues its activities under the Ministry of Finance.

How is money laundering punished?

Pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 7 of Law No. 4208, those who commit money laundering offenses are punished with imprisonment from two years to five years and a heavy fine, which is one times the money laundered. The aggravating causes of the crime are listed in the second and third paragraphs of the article. Accordingly, if the money laundering is obtained from terrorist crimes or the smuggling of any substance and item whose import or export from Turkey is prohibited by law, or if it is committed to providing resources for terrorist crimes, the prison sentence to be given to the perpetrator shall not be less than four years. If committed with violence or threats or using weapons, the penalties will be doubled. Law No. 4208 has also determined the penalty to be applied in case the crime is committed within the body of a legal entity. According to paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law, if the crime of money laundering is committed within the body of a legal entity and the provision regarding the establishment of an organization cannot be applied, the same penalties will be imposed on the executives who commit the act, but legal entities will be fined from five hundred million Turkish Lira to five billion Turkish Lira. In the last paragraph of Article 7 of the Law, the mitigating reason for the money laundering crime has been determined, and accordingly, the penalty to be imposed on the perpetrator will be reduced from one half to two-thirds in case the crime is committed.