Founding Partner: Gönenç Gürkaynak
Number of partners: 3
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, Amplifon S.p.A, Boyner Holding, L’Oréal and Modern Karton.
ELIG Gürkaynak represented its long term client Boyner Holding in the second largest M&A project that took place during 2019 in Turkey. Boyner is a well-known and esteemed non-food and non-electronic retail group in Turkey which is active in various fields such as department stores, luxury shops, e-commerce websites and mobile applications, service sector and real estate. In 2019, Boyner and Mayhoola for Investments LLC, an investment fund incorporated under the laws of the State of Qatar have commercially agreed on ending the partnership they had through Boyner Perakende ve Tekstil Yatırımları A.Ş. incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Turkey and listed in Istanbul Stock Exchange. ELIG Gürkaynak has also provided Turkish law assistance in relation to the Turkish employment laws, real estate laws, corporate laws, data privacy laws, e-commerce laws, competition laws, capital markets laws. This transaction had wide media coverage both in Turkey and globally.
Competition & Antitrust:
ELIG Gürkaynak delivers the top competition law practice in Turkey with 46 competition law specialists. The team is led by Mr Gönenç Gürkaynak, ELIG Gürkaynak’s founding partner, along with four partners and four 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 Google, which ELIG Gürkaynak represented through the compliance process of the Turkish Competition Board’s Android decision concerning Google’s practices and agreements concluded with device manufacturers related to the provision of mobile operating system and mobile application and services. The Turkish Competition Board ultimately decided that Google fully complied with the obligations imposed by the Board’s Android decision.
ELIG Gürkaynak successfully defended Allianz in the full-fledged investigation into allegations of anti-competitive agreement in the market for facultative reinsurance/coinsurance. Unlike the administrative monetary fine suggestions of the case handlers, the Board took mitigating factors into account and imposed an administrative monetary fine corresponding to 0.3% of Allianz’s annual turnover.
In terms of merger control filings, the competition law and antitrust team advised the buyer and seller on the Turkish component of a significant global merger in the power sector. The transaction concerned the proposed acquisition of 100% of the shares in GE Distributed Power, General Electric Austria and Jenbacher International (together with their respective subsidiaries) by funds managed by Advent International Corporation, from General Electric Company. The transaction aimed to combine GE’s distributed power business’ market position with Advent’s support of committed and experienced investors.
The firm also efficiently and successfully defended Mercedes-Benz in a number of investigations including (i) 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, (ii) a preliminary investigation relating to discrimination/favouritism allegations against certain dealers, which the Turkish Competition Board closed without further action, and (iii) 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, 3M, Medtronic, Pfizer, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, IBM, Tronox Limited, Henkel, Celanese Sales Germany, Michelin, KLX and Aerospace Solutions.
White Collar Irregularities & Compliance:
ELIG Gürkaynak is recognised as a leading law firm in relation to white collar irregularities, anti-money laundering and compliance matters and has a significant practice focusing on internal investigations and white collar crime matters. Amongst other areas, the practice advises clients in connection with Turkish corporate compliance issues under the relevant OECD Convention, FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and under the Turkish anti-corruption and anti-money laundering 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 has developed and implemented work plans for a large number of internal investigations conducted on the Turkish operations of multinational companies and large Turkish conglomerates that operate in various sectors such as medicines and medical, banking and finance sectors. The firm is also conducting a full-fledged white collar compliance project for one of the largest banks in Turkey, and multiple anti-money laundering projects for a global financial services group in Turkey. The firm has also assisted in another global bank in a high-level sensitive internal investigation. 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, handled public and government relations aspects of projects, prepared due diligence reports, provided dozens of FCPA trainings, and helped clients 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. ELIG Gürkaynak is a participant to the several working groups of TEID, and has spoken at the events for the Transparency International’s Pharmaceuticals Sector Cooperation Program.
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 labor 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. ELIG Gürkaynak represented Wikimedia before Turkish Constitutional Court for removal of the access ban imposed on Wikipedia due to a specific content therein and the court granted removal of the ban, after a long-anticipated wait and resonated positively in Turkey. ELIG Gürkaynak represents Google in a civil lawsuit wherein Google was sued for liability due to one’s use of another’s trademark in Google Ads as keyword, the court-assigned-experts did not find Google liable, which could set precedent for such cases (the case is not yet concluded). ELIG Gürkaynak represents Travelex in an administrative lawsuit against administration denying the company’s right to be compensated for close-down of the formerly-operational airport, wherein Travelex had operated, after opening of a new airport. The case is pending and can set precedent for all other companies that were operating in the closed airport. ELIG Gürkaynak represents Digicom as plaintiff against LG wherein damages for termination of distributorship agreement is requested and the court-assigned-experts concluded a significantly high amount for compensation (which can be record-setting in Turkey). The case is still ongoing. The client portfolio in this practice area includes Twitter, Booking.com, Google, Digicom, Travelex, Wikimedia, Metro, Rolls-Royce, Tinmar Enerji, Dell, Diageo, Henkel, Alcon, MacDermid Alpha Italia Italy Srl, L’Oréal, Indesit, Medtronic, NCR.
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, which 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 technology giants Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, in addition to Alfa Telecom, The Walt Disney, BBC, Wikimedia Foundation, Foursquare and WordPress. In the beginning of 2020, ELIG Gürkaynak, acting as outside counsel for Wikimedia Foundation, has secured an affirmative decision from the Turkish Constitutional Court in the matter of an universal access ban on the Wikipedia website (www.wikipedia.org) in Turkey and accordingly more than two and a half years of access ban has been lifted. ELIG Gürkaynak is also assisting Wikimedia Foundation at the European Court of Justice, regarding this access ban. ELIG Gürkaynak continues to handle 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. ELIG Gürkaynak assisted The Walt Disney Company regarding the regulatory requirements and processes before the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television concerning a merger. The team also provided plenty of clients, including Google and Broadcom, with data protection and privacy law related advice and has lead multiple registrations to data controllers’ registry for both foreign and domestic data controller clients.
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 2019 the real estate team assisted Google Reklamcilik ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti. throughout the process of drafting and negotiating an additional lease agreement for the expansion of its offices leased in Turkey.
ELIG Gürkaynak also successfully acted for Boyner Holding in relation to the second largest M&A transaction in Turkey and such project also had real estate laws related aspects as part of the contemplated post-closing transactions.
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. A dedicated team of associates lead by three partners are powered by invaluable knowledge and a track record in other practice areas in which the firm is recognized 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 also provides regular advice to Google, Twitter, YouTube, Inditex, Nielsen, SANKO. ELIG Gürkaynak advises Google in enforcement of its wide range of trademarks before the Turkish Trademark and Patent Institute. In 2019, ELIG Gürkaynak achieved successful outcomes for Google against several trademark applications which included marks similar to Google’s trademarks. These successful results established precedents attesting Google’s design trademark’s recognition in Turkey.
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 expansive 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, supplements, 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 advises L’Oréal on cosmetics regulations, including safety recall, promotion and sale of cosmetics.
ELIG Gürkaynak has also advised clients including MSD, Pfizer, Gilead and Medtronic in review of distribution and sales contracts in light of Turkish pharma and competition laws and provides advice in regards to business practices and distribution channels in Turkey, rebate systems and advertisement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
ELIG Gürkaynak also provides routine compliance trainings to clients such as Baxter and Expanscience. ELIG Gürkaynak is also a participant to and has spoken at the events for the Transparency International’s Pharmaceuticals Sector Cooperation Program.