Victim Rights in Turkey

 3.Who is a witness?

A witness is a person not involved in the judicial dispute but that is known to be informed on the matter of the lawsuit.

Is testimony obligatory?

Yes. A person indicated as a witness is obligated to truthfully give testimony in front of the court or general prosecutor. In exceptional situations a person can withhold from making testimony. However even in this case that person is obligated to inform the judge or the general prosecutor of his/her use of right to withhold their testimony.

I have been indicated as a witness on a matter that I am not knowledgeable of.

In this case on the hearing in front of the judge you have to inform the court of your absence of knowledge and make the oath of truthfulness.

What happens if I do not appear in court?

If you do not appear at the hearing for your testimony you may be brought to the court by force by police or gendarme officers and you will be responsible for all expenses.

I am not able to appear in court.

You must notify in writing the court or the general prosecutor of your excuse immediately.  In your summons you can find the name of the court or general prosecutor as well as investigation information and number of the case. You must include information about investigation and case number in your written request that is addressed to the appropriate competent authority: in this case the name of authority indicated on your summons.  However keep in mind that not every excuse is acceptable for rescheduling the hearing. ‘I am very busy’ ‘I have a meating’ ‘I can’t leave the workplace’ are not satisfactory excuses. In case the competent authority finds your excuse acceptable the hearing of your testimony will be rescheduled for another date and a new summons will be sent. In case the excuse won’t be regarded satisfactory you may be brought to the hearing by force by the authorities.

What must I include in the testimony?

You must truthfully explain all the information that you have. In doing so you must most definitely indicate if you directly witnessed the shared bit of information even if it is truthful. For example: when asked by the judge ’Is Ahmet beating his wife?’ and you did not directly witnessed the event but informed by the talk of the neighbours you must not answer ‘Yes Ahmet beats his wife’ but instead ‘Yes, the neighbours say that he continuously beat her’.

What happens if I lie?

Perjury is a crime. If the judge realises that you are lying he/she may inform the general prosecutor to invoke appropriate procedures. If a criminal investigation will be opened by the general prosecutor you may go to jail. This situation will be reflected in your criminal record. In addition if the judge has made a decision relying on perjury the judicial process will be renewed. Also the aggrieved side may request for damages in regard to your false testimony.

Can I give my testimony in writing?

In principle no. As a witness you must give your testimony orally in front of the judge by answering his/her questions. However for better clarity on matters such as numbers or technicalities you may request to present your testimony by writing. If you withdraw from testimony without proper legal reasoning a disciplinary penalty may be enforced.

However: if the judge deems it necessary the testimony may be given in writing during short periods of time as answers to the posed by judge questions. In this case if your written answers are not seen as satisfactory you will have to answer verbally.

I am very busy. Can I give my testimony beforehand in the secreteriat of the court?

No.  The testimony must be take by the judge. Even if you are present at the secretariat before the hearing there is no way you can give your testimony in writing.

I am going to appear at the hearing.

In the summons sent to you you will find the date time and the indicated court where the hearing will take place. You have to be present and ready at the designated time. The bailiff will call out your name after which you can enter the courtroom. You cannot enter the courtroom unless your name has been called.

Why can’t I be present at the whole hearing?

The testimony must be given neutrally and impartially. In this regard your opinion can be influenced by the testimonies of other witnesses or you can get confused by them. This is why you must wait outside as other witnesses give their testimony. The witnesses are heard separately.

What must I do during the hearing?

You must bring your identification documents. DUring your entering to the courtroom you documents will be checked and included in the record of proceedings. You will be asked whether you know the sides of the lawsuit. Also you will be asked whether you are knowledgeable on the matter of dispute. You must answer the questions addressed to you truthfully and clearly. If you know the sides: if you are knowledgeable on the dispute matter or if your interests will be touched by the decision of the court you must inform the judge.

I left my workplace and made expenses during the trip.

The time and expenses that you endured are taken into consideration and a sum will be paid to you accordingly. If you reside at another city: compensatşon of your expenses is your legal right which you can demand from the court or general prosecutor.

Instead of going to the court can I go to the notary?

No. Testimony given in front of the notary is not equal to the testimony given to the court.

What is withdrawal from testimony?

Witneses are under a legal obligation to give testimony. Additionally person leaving a closed one in a tough situation does not bide with the sence of justice. The testimony given out will always be regarded as disputable. Some persons has been deemed as an exception and these persons can withdraw from testimony.

Who can withdraw from testimony?

Sides to the lawsuit;

Suspect or accused in a criminal case;

Persons binded by the familial bounds;

Previous spouses;

Persons whose testimony may hurt their dignity;

Persons whose testimony may result in a criminal investigation for them.