There is no doubt that arts and culture has been one of the sectors most affected by COVID-19, as almost all of the events and organizations throughout Turkey and worldwide have either been cancelled or postponed. This is precisely why the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (the “Ministry”) convened a meeting with the representatives of private theatres in recent months and announced that they plan to offer a support package for private theatres.
Subsequent to this announcement, amendments to the Regulation on Aids To Be Provided to the Private Theatres’ Projects have been published in the Official Gazette on 5 May 2020 (the “Amended Regulation”) and entered into force on the same date. The significant changes introduced by the Amended Regulation are as follows:
The definition of “private theatre” has been changed:
“Private theatre” was defined earlier as “real persons or private law legal entities creating theatre performances other than for hobby purposes”. This definition has been changed by the Amended Regulation and the current definition is: “private law legal entities which are regarded as merchants pursuant to the Turkish Commercial Code numbered 6102 and registered to the system developed by the Ministry and real persons who hold an Artist Identification Card given to the Traditional Theatre artists by the Directorate General of Research and Education of the Ministry ”.
In this respect, the scope of the definition introduced by the Amended Regulation seems to have been narrowed by certain criteria.
The application date has been changed:
As of 5 May 2020, the private theatres shall submit their applications for aid between 1 July and 31 July of each year. Before the Amended Regulation these dates were 15 July and 15 August of each year.
The Ministry will no longer provide aid to amateur theatres:
Until recently, the amateur theatres could apply to the Ministry and receive aid with a ceiling of TRY 18,000 annually. Now, the amateur theatres can no longer receive aids from the Ministry as they have been excluded from the list of aid recipients by the Amended Regulation. This was necessary in order to increase the aid package to be provided to professional and traditional theatres.
The aid amounts have been increased:
Before the Amended Regulation entered into force, the Ministry could provide aid for special theatre projects up to 50% of the total estimated cost of the projects submitted during the application process. In any event, the aids could not exceed TRY 80,000 annually for professional theatres, TRY 18,000 annually for amateur theatres and TRY 15,000 for traditional theatres.
By the Amended Regulation, the Ministry has excluded the amateur theatres from the aid recipients’ list and increased the aid amounts to be paid to professional and traditional theatres. The new ratios and sums are as follows:
- The Ministry can provide aid for special theatre projects up to 70% of their total estimated cost submitted during the application process.
- The aid ceiling for professional theatres is TRY 150,000 annually.
- The aid ceiling for traditional theatres is TRY 30,000 annually.
Aid recipients’ obligations have been softened:
Under the temporary article introduced by the New Regulation due to COVID-19 pandemic, the obligations of the aid recipient theatres in relation to the aid they receive have been softened. At this juncture, these theatres are no longer required to submit the documents listed in subparagraph (a) and (ç) of Article 14 of the Amended Regulation. The article also provides facilities in terms of the number of minimum theatre plays to be performed by the aid recipient theatre. At this point, we caution our clients that the application of this article has been limited to 2020.
If you require further information or clarification please do not hesitate to contact us.