Turkey: A Guide To Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program

 Developing and establishing an effective anti-money laundering ("AML") compliance program is a requirement for financial institutions in order to combat laundering the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing worldwide.

In this article, our aim is to reveal the scope and the significance of developing and establishing AML compliance program in Turkey.

  1. Introduction

In Turkey, compliance program requirement is set forth in the Regulation on Compliance Programs Regarding Obligations on Laundering the Proceeds of Crime and Prevention of Financing of Terrorism ("Compliance Regulation").

According to the Compliance Regulation, only the foregoing obliged parties such as banks (except for Central Bank of Republic of Turkey as well as development and investment banks), capital markets intermediary institutions, insurance and pension companies, Post and Telegraph Organization General Directorate (pertaining only to banking activities) oblige to establish and operate a risk-based AML compliance program.

The AML compliance program requirement for each category of covered obliged parties would also apply to their agents, branches, commercial representatives or similar affiliates located in abroad to the extent allowed by their local jurisdiction.

  1. Scope of AML Compliance Program

The scope of AML compliance program established with a risk-based approach is as follows: (i) creating corporate policies and procedures, (ii) carrying out risk management activities, (iii) performing monitoring and controlling activities, (iv) assigning compliance officer and forming a compliance unit, (v) conducting training activities, (vi) carrying out internal control activities.

The risk management as well as monitoring and controlling activities are carried out by compliance officers. Moreover, those activities are under obligation of the board of directors of the obliged parties.

  1. Corporate Policies and Procedures

Obliged parties must create corporate policies by considering the size of the institution, the volume of the business and the type of their transactions. Corporate policies must consist of at least risk management, monitoring and controlling, training and internal control policies under Turkish laws.

The purpose of establishing corporate policy is (i) to determine strategies on ensuring obliged parties to comply with the obligations pertaining to laundering the proceeds of crime and prevention of financing of terrorism and on minimising risks to be exposed through assessing obliged parties' customers, transactions and services with a risk-based approach; (ii) to determine controls and measures within the institution, operational rules and responsibilities and (iii) to make the employees aware of these matters.

Corporate policies and procedures are required to be prepared in written form under the observation and coordination of the compliance officer. The board of directors is under obligation to approve corporate policies. Under the Compliance Regulation, compliance officers must deliver corporate policies and any amendments to the corporate policies to the Financial Crimes Investigation Board ("MASAK").

Obliged parties are also required to deliver corporate policies to the employees by obtaining their signatures. MASAK Frequently Asked Questions No. 105 states that corporate policies may be delivered electronically on the condition that the relevant employee has electronic signature. Moreover, e-mail messages may also be used to deliver the amendments to the policies, provided that the delivery is confirmed with read receipt method and that such method is stated in the relevant policy or amendment policy.

  1. Risk Management Activities

Obliged parties are required to implement risk management policies by considering the size of the institution, the volume of the business and the type of their transactions. The purpose of the risk management policy is to identify, grade, monitor, assess and minimise the risk that can be exposed. Risk management policy must consist of at least internal measures and operational rules regarding customer identification measures stipulated in the relevant anti-money laundering legislation. In addition to preparing risk management policy, obliged parties must also carry out risk management activities such as developing risk identification, grading, classification and assessment methods based on customer risk, service risk and country risk as well as grading and classifying services, transactions and customers.

  1. Monitoring and Controlling Activities

Another requirement for obliged parties is to conduct monitoring and controlling activities by considering the size of the institution, the volume of the business and the type of their transactions. Protecting obliged parties against risks and monitoring and controlling whether their activities are carried out in accordance with AML and corporate policies and procedures is the main purpose monitoring and controlling activities.

According to Article 15 of the Compliance Regulation, the minimum scope of the monitoring and controlling activities is as follows: (i) high risk customers and their transactions, (ii) transaction conducted with risky countries, (iii) complex and unusual transactions.

  1. Compliance Officer and Compliance Unit

Pursuant to Article 16 of the Compliance Regulation, assigning compliance officer is a must for obliged parties. Once it is notified by obliged parties, MASAK assesses whether the relevant compliance officer candidate meets the criteria stipulated in the Compliance Regulation. If not, obliged parties are under obligation to assign a new compliance officer meeting the criteria.

Additionally, as per Article 18 of the Compliance Regulation, in order to ensure that compliance officer perform its duties and responsibilities effectively, board of directors is required to ensure establishment of compliance unit to execute compliance program by considering the size of the institution, the volume of the transaction, the number of the branch and personnel or the level of the risks it may expose to.

Duties and responsibilities of compliance officers are stipulated in Article 19 of the Compliance Regulation. Accordingly, compliance officers' duties and responsibilities are including but not limited to conduct necessary works to ensure that obliged parties comply with the AML legislation; conduct necessary communication and coordination with MASAK; establish corporate policies and procedures and submit corporate policies for approval of the board of directors; establish risk management and monitoring and controlling policies and carry out risk management and monitoring and controlling activities; submit her/his works regarding training program on laundering proceeds of crime and terrorist financing for the approval of the board of directors and ensure effective implementation of the approved training program and report suspicious activities to MASAK.

  1. Training Activities

Obliged parties are ordered to constitute a training policy including the matters such as operation of training activities, the person who would be responsible for conducting training activities, determination and training of employees and trainers to be participated to training activities as well as training methods. The purpose of implementing a training policy is to ensure compliance with obligations within the scope of Turkish AML legislation and raise awareness of the employees.

In addition to implementation of a training policy, obliged parties are also required to carry out training activities in compliance with the size of the institution, the volume of the business and changing conditions for prevention of laundering proceeds of crime and terrorist financing.

Trainings to be presented to the employees need to include the following subjects: terms of laundering proceeds of crime and terrorist financing; stages and methods of laundering proceeds of crime and case studies on this matter; legislation on prevention of laundering proceeds of crime and terrorist financing; risk areas; corporate policies and procedures; principles on customer identification and suspicious activity reporting; obligation of archiving and submission; obligation of providing information and documents; sanctions to be implemented in case of breach of obligations; international regulations on combating laundering and terrorist financing.

  1. Internal Control

Obliged parties are required to ensure, annually and on a risk-based approach, examination and controlling of corporate policies and procedures, risk management, monitoring and controlling activities, sufficiency and efficiency of training activities and risk policy and whether the transactions are carried out in compliance with AML legislation and corporate policies and procedures. Internal control units and supervisory boards of obliged parties carry out internal control activities and report such activities to the board of directors.

  1. The Significance of Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program

As stated above, compliance programs are implemented by compliance officers. However, the ultimate responsibility for carrying out compliance program adequately and efficiently lies with the board of directors. The board of directors may delegate some or all of its authorities to one or more board member(s). Delegation of an authority cannot remove the responsibility of the board of directors.

It is important to note that in case non-compliance with obligations as to training, internal control and risk management system, obliged parties must be given at least 30 days in order to correct deficiencies and take necessary measures. If obliged parties do not correct deficiencies and take necessary measures, an administrative fine of TRY 15,035 (~ EUR 2,300) could be imposed by MASAK. If the obliged party is a bank, insurance and pension company or capital market institution, an administrative fine of TRY 30,070 (~ EUR 4,600) could be imposed. For each breach, the total amount of administrative fines applied to the obliged parties within the year of the breach cannot exceed TRY 1,709,600 (~ EUR 255,165) and TRY 17,096,120 (~ EUR 2,551,650) for banks, insurance and pension companies or capital market institutions. If the obliged parties subject to upper limit on fines (i.e. banks, insurance and pension companies or capital market institutions) do not comply with these obligations in the following year, the limit shall be applied twofold.

Therefore, it is crucial to comply with obligations pertaining to setting and implementing compliance program to not to face with the administrative burdens and reputational risk.

  1. Conclusion

In light of the foregoing, institutions subject to the AML legislation are under obligation to establish and implement risk-based compliance programs proportionate to the size and volume of their businesses. The consequences of non-compliance with establishment and operation of AML compliance program might be subject to administrative fines and reputational damage to the relevant institution. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions