Foreign language trade names permitted


Isik Ozdogan and Ezgi Baklaci

The Turkish Ministry of Customs and Commerce published a communiqué in the Official Gazette on February 14 intended to introduce guidelines for the substance of company trade names and for individual tradespeople operating commercial enterprises.

The basic principles for selecting and registering a trade name are defined in the Turkish Commercial Code (TCC). Under Turkish law, trade names for companies are made up of three elements: the company’s name, the company’s subject, and the company’s type (such as ‘ABC Technology Limited’).

The communiqué clarifies the TCC principles and requirements for trade names as follows:

  • A trade name cannot be stated in such a way that it misleads third parties and creates the wrong impression about the company’s owner or about the company’s scope, importance, or financial status;
  • A trade name cannot contradict public order, morals or the national interest, nor may it bring harm to cultural and historical values;
  • The words ‘Turk’, ‘Turkish’, ‘republic’ or ‘national’ used on their own can be used in a trade name only with the consent of the Council of Ministers about that specific company or tradesperson. The exception to this is where the mentioned word is the name or surname of the individual tradesperson;
  • Companies established for the purpose of merging with other companies should use the term ‘holding’ in their trade name;
  • A trade name containing a country name will be accepted by the Council of Ministers only if the relevant national authority’s consent is submitted;
  • The names or abbreviations of Turkish or international institutions and organisations may be used as part of the trade name only where the institutions or organisations own or are the shareholders of the company; and
  • Trade names that are withdrawn from the corporate registry cannot be registered by another company or tradesperson for five years, starting from the date the withdrawal is published in the Turkish Trade Registry Gazette.

Apart from the principles listed above, the communiqué clarifies cases of confusion as follows:

TCC, trade name,