ISTA was established to bring together Turkey’s leading arbitration practitioners under one roof.
ISTA works to promote and popularize arbitration in Turkey and to make Istanbul one of the world’s leading arbitration centers.
ISTA carries out activities to improve the expertise of all segments operating in the field of arbitration, including jurists, lawyers, academics, experts and interpreters, in order to resolve domestic and international commercial disputes effectively and efficiently through arbitration, to resolve disputes without impairing relations, to protect and develop economic relations, to contribute to the strengthening of the economy by restoring reconciliation and cooperation, and to establish an advanced legal economy.
The desire of the leading figures of commercial arbitration in Turkey, particularly Prof. Dr. Rabi Koral, Prof. Mahmut Birsel, Prof. Dr. Turgut Kalpsüz, Prof. Dr. Fadlullah Cerrahoğlu, to transform Istanbul into an international arbitration center led to the establishment of ISTA. However, it took a long time for this desire to be realized. Turkey’s hesitancy towards international arbitration and criticism of arbitration practices did not provide a suitable environment for the development of commercial arbitration at the desired pace.
Turkey’s expansion to international markets, the development of international trade relations, the need to meet the increasing financing demand by establishing a financial center in Istanbul brought up the requirement to make Istanbul an arbitration center.
An international conference organized by the Founding President of ISTA, Av. Mehmet Gün, where the requirements for the success of arbitration centers were discussed, led to the voicing of people’s demands for the establishment of ISTA. At an international conference organized by the Founding President of ISTA, Av. Mehmet Gün, where the requirements for the success of arbitration centers were discussed, the participants expressed their desire to establish an arbitration association. In order to bring all arbitration practitioners together, Av. Mehmet Gün was asked to lead the establishment of the association. The international conference, which was held in Ankara in November 2012 with around 400 participants, planted the seed for the establishment of the ISTA.
The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, the Istanbul Bar Association, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, the Istanbul Bar Association, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) and the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) were invited to join the association as founding members. They declared their support for the establishment of the association, but they could not become members due to the restrictions of their laws and the barrier of internal bureaucracy. After about two years of waiting, it was decided to continue the establishment by the other founders and ISTA was granted the status of NGO – association.
During this period, developments such as the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure in 2011 in an arbitration-friendly approach, the publication of the law on the establishment of ISTAC in 2014, and the reorganization of ITOTAM have brought arbitration to the forefront as an alternative dispute resolution method.
In this environment, Turkey’s leading arbitration practitioners started to work towards the establishment of a specialized association. In this context, the Istanbul International Arbitration Center Conference held in Ankara on November 30, 2012 was an important starting point that brought together arbitration practitioners.
Following this important meeting, a will to establish ISTA was formed, and for this purpose a meeting was held in June 2015 together with Turkey’s leading arbitration practitioners. ISTAC consulted these founders on the draft rules and the consolidated views were submitted.
In this process, bureaucratic requirements were completed and ISTA was established on November 27, 2015 with 41 founders, 13 honorary members and arbitration experts. On May 16, 2016, at its first general assembly meeting, Av. Mehmet Gün was elected as the Chairman of the board of directors and Commissions were established to carry out ISTA activities.
In September 2016, ISTA started to share current developments in arbitration and the activities of the association through its blog. ISTA’s logo and corporate identity were determined in October 2016 following a creative process.
ISTA determined that there was a need in Turkey to develop a code of ethics and qualification criteria for arbitrators. Within this framework, the Arbitration and Education Commission examined the codes of ethics and qualification criteria of the world’s leading arbitration centers and prepared a list of resources. As a result of an extensive work, the draft codes of ethics and qualification criteria were shared with a wide circle of arbitration experts. At the last stage, the drafts were finalized on 1 December 2017 with the academic work conducted by Assoc. Prof. Süheyla Balkar Bozkurt from Galatasaray University.
In May 2017, ISTA joined the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TÜRKONFED), which includes nearly 25 thousand business people, to promote arbitration.
All these activities were shared with the public at the ISTA launch meeting held at Çırağan Palace on December 1, 2017 with a wide participation. The meeting was widely covered by the press and online media.
ISTA introduced the ISTA Arbitrators’ Code of Ethics in its early stages of establishment in order to build and implement high ethical values. Following its institutionalization, ISTA held a strategy conference with the participation of all members and stakeholders and determined its activity road map below:
Market growth: Organizing arbitration roadshows in Turkey and abroad, developing relationships with relevant organizations, conducting sectoral studies, organizing networking events, and using communication and social media channels effectively.
Expertise, roles, standards and training: Organizing trainings, providing competency and qualification certificates and scholarships, preparing guides and manuals for good and exemplary practices, and cooperating with other institutions in order to improve arbitration practices in Turkey.
Develop international and domestic arbitration: Organizing arbitration conferences and moot court competitions, working with national and international academics, encouraging and supporting arbitration publications and activities.
The arbitration economy and the financing of the association: Raising awareness on the contribution of arbitration to the economy, working on the third-party funding, and seeking sponsorship and similar methods to finance the association’s activities.
ISTA’s primary activity is the promotion of arbitration as an advanced dispute resolution method throughout Turkey and the promotion of Istanbul as a seat of arbitration. Through roadshows in Turkey and abroad, ISTA promotes arbitration and the advantages of Istanbul as a seat of arbitration.