On December 26, 2020, Bill on Prevention of the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), deliberated and enacted during the 40th plenary session of Grand National Assembly. New law aiming to regulate the procedures and principles for the implementation of the resolutions of UNSC regarding the prevention of the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In order to enhance legal and corporate capacity to combat financing of terrorism and money laundering, new law produced certain changes in the relevant legislation including, Law no 2860 on aid collection, Law no 5549 on the prevention of laundering of proceeds of crime, Law no 6415 on the prevention of the financing of terrorism, Criminal procedure act (No. 5271), Turkish commercial code (No. 6102) and Law no 5253 on associations.
Amongst other changes in the relevant legislation, with new law substantial measures against to abuse of associations acting as conduits for financing of terrorist activities as well as for unlawful money laundering activities are introduced. New amendments clarified and expanded the scope of Law on Associations by removing confusion regarding the applicability of law over the foreign foundations. New restrictions as well as measures are introduced in the fight against the laundering of proceeds of crime and financing of terrorism, including enhancing authority of the Minister of Interior to suspend activities of associations or to dismiss relevant personal as a temporary measure to prevent the use of these associations for the financing of terrorism. New notification formats established for aid delivered abroad, new auditing terms based on risk assessment of Associations are defined and penal provisions re-regulated to ensure deterrence, the amount of sanctions are increased.
Accordingly, article 1 of the Law on Associations has been amended in the way that including foreign foundations, just like foreign associations within the scope of law. Furthermore, applicability of provisions of Law on Associations under article 36, re-defined to encompass branches of associations, supreme committees of associations and foundations, branches or representative offices of foreign non-profit organizations, associations, and foundations whose headquarters are registered abroad and permissions for activity or cooperation in Turkey. It is noteworthy that, foundations with their registered head offices in Turkey are not subject to new amendments.
An additional paragraph to the article 3 of Law on Associations which is regulating “Right to Found an Association” has been introduced to regulate restrictions in the appointment of members to the bodies of associations. Those who are convicted by certain crimes listed under article 3, even in case of the lapse of periods prescribed in Article 53 of the Turkish Criminal Law or even if pardoned, are restricted to be appointed in the bodies of associations except for the general assembly and in case of conviction from these crimes after being selected, they will be removed from their duties. In this respect, crimes within the scope of Law No. 6415 on the Prevention of the Financing of Terrorism, crimes within the framework of prevention of laundering of proceeds of crime prescribed under Turkish Criminal Law and crimes associated with production and trade of drugs prescribed under Turkish Criminal Law are considered and listed under article 3. In line with new article 30 (a), in case of any prosecution regarding the relevant personnel due to the crimes committed within the framework of the activity of the association, the relevant persons, or the bodies, in which these persons are appointed, can be dismissed by the Minister of Interior as an interim measure. Furthermore, Minister of Interior on condition of immediately applying to the court, may temporarily suspend the association from activity. Appointment in place of the bodies dismissed and members of these bodies is regulated by the article 27 of Law on Associations and the relevant articles of Turkish Civil Code.
New law further structured the rules on the auditing of associations by making additions to the article 19 of Law on Associations and it is ensured that based on risk-based approach, the periodical audits shall be conducted by public personnel appointed by Minister of Interior or Local Governorate, every year, not exceeding three years and if required during the audit experts can be appointed.
In addition to current notification formats for receiving and delivering aid within Turkey, a new notification system under article 21 of Law on Associations has been formed specific for the aids send to abroad from Turkey. To this end, a new regulation for aids to abroad is promised by new law.