Notaries are used more often in Turkey than in many other countries. Every district in Turkey has at least one, and most districts (as well as cities and towns) have more than one. You don't need an appointment to see a notary. You can walk in, take a number and wait for them to call you.
What is a Notary in Turkey?
A noter (notary) is a fully credentialed, government-appointed lawyer responsible for verifying the authenticity of documents. They identify signers of documents, verify their awareness and willingness to sign, administer oaths, and keep an archive of the documents they administer. Besides notarizing original documents, notaries may also make notarized copies of documents, on which they certify that the copy is a true and accurate copy of the original. Once a document (or copy) is notarized, the notary's stamp and signature make the document a legally recognized document in the Republic of Turkey.
In Turkey, notaries are used for:
- Official copies of Turkish documents (such as your rental contract, if you're applying for a residence permit)
- Certification of sworn translations of foreign documents.
- Transferring ownership of a second-hand motor vehicle.
- Giving power of attorney to another person.
- Creating a company.
- Making a will.
- Formalizing and legalizing written contracts.
- Formally, and provably, notifying another person about an issue. For example, notifying your landlord that you'll be vacating your apartment on a certain date, or demanding that a building contractor fix a problem with the construction of a home.
- Making a taahhütname (literally, a declaration that you'll do something). For example, if a friend wants to live with you and use your address as their address for their residence permit application, you must sign a taahhütname declaring you'll make sure they extend their residence permit or leave Turkey when the time comes, and pay their debts if they leave Turkey without paying them.
How to Find a Notary in Turkey
Walk Around and Look for a Notary
Probably the easiest way to find a notary is to walk to the center of town and ask somebody where one is. Even before you find someone to ask, you'll probably see a notary sign. All notaries have a big red sign which has a number, then the word "Noter." The number has to do with the order in which notaries opened their offices.
So, if you see a notary sign which says "1. Noter," that means that notary office was the first one to be opened in that district. The second one to open would have a sign which says "2. Noter," and so on. Any notary will do, I mention that bit of trivia just in case you wonder what the number means.
Find A Notary Online
You can also find one online. Visit the website of the Türkiye Noterler Birliği (Turkey Notary Association), at http://www.tnb.org.tr/.
An alternative is a private website called Tum Noterler (All Notaries), at http://www.tumnoterler.com/.
If you use Tum Noterler, the "Şehir Seçiniz" (select the city) drop-down list actually produces a list of provinces rather than cities. So select your province, and the page will refresh and display a drop-down list of districts. Select your district, then your neighborhood, in the same way. It'll also display an increasingly zoomed-in map with markers showing the location of notary offices. The notary offices' addresses, telephone numbers, and other contact information will be displayed below the map.
Visiting a Notary
When you visit a notary office, you'll first meet notarial assistants who'll determine your requirements and get whatever document is required. If you don't speak Turkish, they'll bring in a sworn translator to read the document to you, in English, to make sure you understand what it says. Then you'll sign the document before the notary, and the notary will stamp and sign it.
The fees notaries charge are in accordance with a government-issued fee list. The fees vary according to the type of document and the number of pages involved and are increased every six months.
In Turkey, notaries aren't used for transferring ownership of real property. That's done by an official at the Tapu ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlüğü (Property Title Deed and Land Registry Office). However, if you were to give power of attorney to another person to sign your property title deed, a notary would do that. Then your trusted friend or lawyer would sign the property title transfer documents at the Property Title Deed Office.
If the document you need to be notarized is in a language other than Turkish, it must be translated by a sworn translator. Every notary office works with sworn translators, so if you need to find one, ask somebody at a notary office.
If you have a document translated by a sworn translator, the translator will do the translation, then take it to the notary, where they'll swear to the accuracy of the translation. The notary will then stamp the translation and sign it (and enter it into their archive).
To learn about sworn translators, see Sworn Turkish Translators: What They Do and How to Find One.
Getting Another Copy of a Notarized Document
Whenever you have a document notarized (or have a document translated by a sworn translator), the notary will stamp it on the back with the document's record number. Then they'll make another copy and put it in their archive. So, when you have a document notarized, record the document number and keep it in a file on your computer, or photograph it with your smartphone and store the image. If you need another notarized copy, you can get one at any time by going to the same notary and giving them the document number. There's no need to have another copy made of the same document.
Getting another copy of the document from the notary's archives will come in handy, for example, if you extend your residence permit and need another notarized copy of your rental contract. If you're staying in the same place with the same contract, another copy of the original notarized copy will suffice, and also save you some money.
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