Founding Partner: Gönenç Gürkaynak
Number of partners: 8
Number of counsel: 5
Number of lawyers: 90
Languages: English, French, German, Turkish
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law is an eminent, independent Turkish law firm based in Istanbul. The firm was founded in 2005. The firm’s legal team consists of 90 lawyers.
ELIG Gürkaynak is committed to providing its clients with high-quality legal services. The firm combines a solid knowledge of Turkish law with a business-minded approach to develop legal solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of clients in their international and domestic operations.
Main Areas of Practice:
Corporate; Banking & Finance; Mergers & Acquisitions:
ELIG Gürkaynak’s corporate team assists multinational and domestic clients by providing a wide range of corporate advisory services. The team offers unique solutions and strategic planning regarding company incorporation and restructuring, along with a range of corporate housekeeping, and handles day-to-day corporate matters for a range of clients including Ralph Lauren, Rolls-Royce, Boyner Holding, TI Automotive, Betafence (Praesidiad) and CA Technologies.
The corporate and M&A team recently advised OYAK (Ordu Yardımlaşma Kurumu) during their two-year negotiation and corporate and commercial restructuring of a long term partnership with Renault for manufacturing Renault branded vehicles in Turkey, and in relation to MAİS (an affiliate of the client) for retail sales, distribution and export of the vehicles. Successful closing of the transaction garnered wide press coverage in Turkey.
The firm also provides advice and guidance on various banking and finance, and mergers and acquisitions matters. The team recently advised a multinational banking and financial services institution headquartered in Europe during the launch of a new loan product for SME customers in Turkey, which aims to provide simple and customer friendly general facility and banking services agreements.
Competition & Antitrust:
ELIG Gürkaynak delivers the top competition law practice in Turkey with 45 competition law specialists. The team is led by Mr Gönenç Gürkaynak, ELIG Gürkaynak’s founding partner, along with four partners and two counsel. In addition to its unparalleled experience in merger control issues, ELIG Gürkaynak has vast experience in defending companies before the Turkish Competition Board in all phases of antitrust investigations, abuse of dominant position cases, leniency handlings and before the courts on issues of private enforcement of competition law, along with appeals of the administrative decisions of the Turkish Competition Authority.
Over the past year, ELIG Gürkaynak has handled more than 85 files with the Turkish Competition Authority relating to cartels, leniency applications, abuse of dominance cases, and merger control filings, along with 35 defence project investigations and more than 15 appeals before the administrative courts.
ELIG Gürkaynak has also delivered more than 75 antitrust education seminars to its clients’ employees. ELIG Gürkaynak assisted clients with high profile investigations which resulted in landmark decisions during the past year. One of these cases involved a lengthy investigation against 13 financial institutions active in the Turkish corporate and commercial banking market. Unlike previous cases, the Turkish Competition Board took a different approach and provided immunity from fine for the 13 institutions without considering this a cartel case.
In a transaction that concluded in late 2017, ELIG Gürkaynak also successfully represented Mey İçki, a subsidiary of Diageo, following an 18 month investigation, which explored the validity of abuse of dominance allegations in the Turkish markets for vodka and gin. The Turkish Competition Board found a violation through abuse of dominance but accepted Mey İçki’s defence of “non bis in idem”. Mey İçki successfully argued that the investigation was crippled for double jeopardy as the Turkish Competition Authority carried out a second investigation on the same allegations belonging to the same time period, and it created the risk of a repetitive fine. The Board concluded that Mey İçki should not be subject to an administrative monetary fine under Article 16 of the Law No. 4054. This decision may set a landmark precedent in terms of interpretation of the “non bis in idem” principle under the Turkish competition law regime.
In terms of merger control filings, the competition law and antitrust team advised The Walt Disney Company on its acquisition of sole control over certain businesses of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. including its film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, and international television businesses. The acquisition had a transaction value of approximately USD 71.3 billion and was conditionally approved by the European Commission.
In a transaction valued at USD 4.8 billion, which was subjected to Phase II review by the European Commission, ELIG Gürkaynak successfully represented Thales S.A and Gemalto N.V on the acquisition of sole control of Gemalto, an international digital security company.
The firm also efficiently and successfully defended Mercedes-Benz in a number of investigations including:
■ A full-fledged investigation into abuse of dominance allegations in the market of trucks allowing the mounting of concrete pumps, which was closed without finding a violation or fine
■ A preliminary investigation relating to discrimination/favouritism allegations against certain dealers, which the Turkish Competition Board closed without further action
■ A preliminary investigation into refusal to supply allegations, which the Board closed again without a full-fledged investigation
In addition to the above, the competition law and antitrust team also provided advice to a broad range of clients including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Turkish Airlines, Rolls-Royce, 3M, Medtronic, Pfizer, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, IBM, Tronox Limited and Henkel.
White Collar Irregularities & Compliance:
ELIG Gürkaynak is recognised as a leading law firm in relation to white collar irregularities and compliance matters and has a significant practice focusing on internal investigations. Among other areas, the practice advises clients in connection with Turkish corporate compliance issues under the relevant OECD Convention, FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and Turkish anti-corruption laws. This includes all matters relating to data privacy, employment, anti-corruption policies, anti-money laundering and other related aspects of the Turkish legal regime. ELIG Gürkaynak develops and implements work plans for internal investigations conducted on the Turkish operations of multinational companies and large Turkish conglomerates. The firm frequently coordinates with clients’ external and internal counsel located outside Turkey. Based on its extensive experience, ELIG Gürkaynak has interviewed hundreds of employees, drafted disclosure petitions, managed public and government relations aspects of projects, prepared due diligence reports, provided dozens of FCPA trainings, and worked alongside clients to adopt and implement policies for detecting and ensuring full corporate compliance in Turkey.
Mr Gönenç Gürkaynak was co-chair of the B20 Anti-Corruption Task force during Turkey’s Presidency of the B20 in 2015.
Mr Gürkaynak and the team also assist NGOs such as the OECD, Transparency International, Ethics and Reputation Society (TEID) and Basel Institute on Governance with regards to anti-corruption law, including design of and participation to projects responding to Turkish law related queries or participating in advisory councils.
Litigation & Administrative Law:
ELIG Gürkaynak is one of the few Turkish law firms that combines international legal practice with a solid track-record and knowledge of litigation before Turkish civil and administrative courts. The team is well-equipped to handle all types of civil legal disputes before the Turkish courts such as general civil litigation cases, including unfair competition cases, real estate disputes, shareholding disputes, bankruptcy and execution proceedings, and labour cases, intellectual property litigation, including securing and enforcing intellectual property rights such as trade secrets, and administrative matters, including arbitration related litigation and competition law litigation.
The client portfolio in this practice area includes Twitter, Booking.com, Metro, Rolls-Royce, Tinmar Enerji, Henkel, Alcon, L’Oréal, Newell, Indesit, Medtronic and NCR.
Energy, Oil & Gas:
ELIG Gürkaynak has extensive experience on energy, oil and gas sector. In addition to assisting clients on a day-to-day basis, ELIG Gürkaynak advises on global service, dealership and distributor agreements, localisation, investigations against board members and sales of bunker fuel at airports through intermediaries. ELIG Gürkaynak is also involved in legislation related work for lubricants and advises on excessive license tariff fees set out by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority.
ELIG Gürkaynak advises a variety of clients including Mobil Oil, Mutlu Akü, General Electric, Total, Engie, and Air Liquide on data protection and privacy law related matters, corporate compliance to relevant legislation and in litigations initiated against tariffs. The team has also conducted a long term ongoing project in relation to a shore facility which was requested to be evacuated.
Media, Internet & Telecommunication Law:
Unlike many Turkish law firms, ELIG Gürkaynak has an internationally recognised and significant practice in media, internet and new media, and telecommunications law delivering tailor made strategies for clients who operate in the technology, media, telecommunications and internet sectors. This requires the team to be at the cutting-edge of technology, with a thorough understanding of existing and emerging mediums while also demonstrating a comprehensive knowledge of legal practice. The team is highly committed to meeting the needs of domestic and international clients by combining their expertise in legal practice and specialising in unique practice areas. The practice covers domain name disputes, website agreements, internet copyright and internet trademarks, internet related litigation, regulatory counselling, notice and takedown or judiciary decision enforcement assistance, and localisation of telecom agreements and licenses to be signed with carriers.
ELIG Gürkaynak represents social media giants Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter in addition to Alfa Telecom, BBC, Wikimedia Foundation, Foursquare and WordPress.
ELIG Gürkaynak handles the court/judgeship orders and information requests sent by law enforcement authorities, and all the removal requests and court related matters in Turkey for Twitter. Having worked with Twitter for more than five years, the number of information requests and court orders has increased approximately 50% year on year.
During 2018, the firm provided Foursquare with analysis and legal assessment regarding all access ban decisions rendered by Turkish courts and authorities in various cities in Turkey against Foursquare since 2014. The team also provided Foursquare with data protection and privacy law related advice, particularly on foreign data controller obligations under Turkish data protection laws.
ELIG Gürkaynak represents clients in all proceedings and transactions that deal with real property and the structures attached to it, including purchases and sales, real estate due diligences, construction, mortgages, easements, facility management, restrictive covenants, refinancing, leases, title examinations and project development. The real estate team at ELIG Gürkaynak also provides consultation to clients in relation to review of zoning plan notes and compliance of utilisation licenses with construction permits and zoning plans. During 2018, the real estate team advised a range of clients to revise and restructure their existing lease agreements due to new legislation entered into force in Turkey regarding the use of the Turkish Lira. Clients include Ralph Lauren, Google, L’Oréal, Harvard Business School and Mars Gıda.
ELIG Gürkaynak also successfully acted for TREND GYO (a real estate investment company) and its shareholders on an initial public offering. In this project, some of the real estate portfolio items of TREND GYO were in rural and developing areas and required compliance with the requirements of Turkish construction laws and capital markets legislation. The team also prepared the legal opinion to be submitted to Borsa İstanbul A.Ş.
The intellectual property team at ELIG Gürkaynak provides clients with a complete range of legal services for protecting and exploiting all types of intellectual property and technology assets. The firm handles complex intellectual property matters, each one of which sets a precedent in the market. The dedicated team of associates lead by three partners and a counsel offer invaluable knowledge and a track record in a variety of key practice areas in which the firm is recognised as a leading advisor. This ensures clients are provided with smooth handling in all aspects of complex intellectual property law and related issues including trademarks, patents, copyrights, industrial designs and transactions pertaining to intellectual property rights.
The dedicated team provides legal advice to Warner Bros on copyright related matters, transactions and agreements as well as structuring ownership in copyrighted works, relations with other stakeholders and intellectual property rights of dubbing and performing artists in light of Turkish laws. ELIG Gürkaynak advises Google in enforcement of its YouTube icon design trademark before the Turkish Trademark and Patent Institute. In 2018, ELIG Gürkaynak achieved successful outcomes for Google against three trademark applications which used designs similar to the design of the YouTube icon. These successful results established precedents attesting Google’s design trademark’s recognition in Turkey.
ELIG Gürkaynak also provides regular advice to Google, Twitter, YouTube, Inditex, Nielsen, SANKO and Rolls-Royce.
Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Regulatory:
ELIG Gürkaynak provides legal consultancy to a wide range of sectors including healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical device, cosmetics and life-sciences companies in their day-to-day operations, regulatory issues, compliance, contracts and on matters relating to re-structuring, licensing, intellectual property, management of sector related transactions and regulatory and governmental issues. The team has extensive experience with the standards, principles and forms of various Turkish healthcare institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency and the Social Security Institution.
Clients are guided through numerous complex guidelines and practices of the Ministry of Health, for example, compassionate use, procurement from abroad, scientific and product promotional meetings, value transfer, Good Distribution Practice (GDP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), samples, adverse effects, pharmacovigilance, clinical research and donations.
The support provided by ELIG Gürkaynak extends to a wide range of areas including all aspects of the regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, pharmacies, hospitals, healthcare professionals and pricing, promotion, labelling, safety, advertising and marketing principles of medicines and medical products. With renowned expertise in anti-corruption, the firm has also assisted clients who are active in the health care sector during internal investigations, which requires extensive know-how on anti-corruption, healthcare and public procurement regulations. Critical legal support to the Turkish operations of a multinational client on cord-blood bank regulations and requirements was recently provided by the team. The firm also advises L’Oréal on cosmetics regulations, including safety recall, promotion and sale of cosmetics.
ELIG Gürkaynak’s clients include MSD, Pfizer, Gilead and Medtronic in review of distribution and sales contracts in light of Turkish pharma and competition laws and advice in regards to business practices and distribution channels in Turkey, rebate systems and advertisement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.