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Doing Business in Turkey - Advantages of Turkey as a business location

Contributed by ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law

The state-run investment support and promotion agency, on its official web-site,, lists the reasons why to invest in Turkey as (i) it having a successful economy, (ii) its population, (iii) it having a qualified and competitive labour force, (iv) it having a liberal and reformist investment climate, (v) its infrastructure, (vi) its geographical location, (vii) it being an energy corridor and the terminal of Europe, (viii) it offering low taxes and incentives, (ix) there being a customs union between Turkey and the European Union, and (x) it being a large domestic market (1). Accordingly, we will group these reasons why into (I) geographical element, (II) human capital and (III) technical benefits.

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Legal market overview

The volume of domestic and foreign trade has increased dramatically in recent years in Turkey, as a direct result of the country’s transition to a free market economy. In parallel with this, disputes have been rapidly on the rise, although their progress through the courts remains slow. The commencement of the new Istanbul Arbitration Centre is still eagerly awaited; Ziya Akinci of Akinci Law Office has been appointed President of the Board of Directors, whose duty it is to set the arbitration rules.

The elections in June 2015 (along with civil unrest) led to a slowdown in the economy, which was exacerbated by no government being formed and the subsequent snap election in November. The negative effect on strategic foreign investment was not as harsh as it might have been, with exchange rates remaining relatively attractive. Corporate and M&A teams felt the setback more than others, although the appetite for cross-border M&A has remained. The energy sector is producing an abundant flow of work, as the country moves towards self-sufficiency. Other notable sources of work for law firms include FMCG companies, state-owned conglomerates and domestic banks.

Large international law firms with offices in Turkey may not practice local law and operate in association with local law firms in matters requiring Turkish law. The past five to ten years have seen a steady flow of new, smaller firms emerging from the old order of well-established domestic firms, adding to the competitive edge in the market.

White & Case Müsavirlik Limited Sirketi is now associated in Istanbul with Cakmak Gokce Attorney Partnership, following the departure of Meltem Akol and the arrival of Zeynep Cakmak and banking and finance specialist Guniz Gokce from Çakmak Avukatlik Bürosu, which remains the Ankara associate firm, under the direction of Mesut Cakmak.

Balcioglu Selçuk Akman Keki, Hergüner Bilgen Özeke and Esin Attorney Partnership, member of Baker & McKenzie International lead the market in terms of their ability to attract big-ticket mandates, along with the aforementioned firms associated with White & Case Müsavirlik Limited Sirketi.

Firms in the spotlight

ADMD/Mavioglu & Alkan

ADMD / Mavioglu & Alkan is a full service boutique law firm focussing on foreign investments. ADMD is preferred by corporate and individual clients having sophisticated corporate and financial transactions and complex dispute resolution proceedings that require a more personalized and attentive approach. ADMD also serves as a preferred hub for new investors entering into Turkish market since it supports its clients directly or with reliable referrals for related non-legal services such as virtual office formations, outsourced accounting, bookkeeping and support for tax submissions.

Ketenci & Ketenci International legal practice

Ketenci & Ketenci is a team of international lawyers, with a top-tier global reputation in both advisory and contentious matters. Ketenci & Ketenci is a full service leading boutique Turkish law firm offering an international approach. The firm provides high level legal services to respected high-profile corporate clients based in 74 different jurisdictions around the world.

Bener Law Office

Bener Law Office was founded by Erim Bener in 2001 and has grown to its current size through careful selection of partners, associates and support based on strong ethics, technical excellence and a business-minded approach. The firm’s growth has been driven by the needs of its clients, which include many leading international and local companies, as well as the opportunities in the market.

Cavus & Coskunsu Law Firm

Cavus & Coskunsu has extensive experience in maritime, transportation and insurance law. As a dynamic and respected law firm, both Turkish and foreign companies including shipowners and managers, P&I clubs, hull underwriters, carriers and freight forwarders are represented in matters arising all over Turkey.

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