A key market for many of our clients, Turkey continues to offer growth and investment opportunities. Clients look to us for tailored international legal advice and an understanding of the economic, regulatory and political environment that can impact their objectives. Offering innovative solutions combined with a pragmatic attitude, we have played a role in the legal aspects of many of the market-transforming developments of the Turkish economy. We also regularly advise clients on some of the most important cross-border litigation and arbitration that impacts Turkey.
Our team has built deep relationships with market leaders across many sectors, resulting in astute, practical insight into how to get transactions done. Our clients include some of the largest banking and energy companies, both public and private, locally-based and international.
With over 30 years of experience in the region, an office in Istanbul and a professional association with GKC PARTNERS (formerly Çakmak-Gökçe Avukatlık Bürosu) in Istanbul, clients benefit from our deep roots and the fact we have worked on many "firsts" in the market. Notable deals include the first private equity deal, first global IPO, first securitisation, first airport privatization and the largest private real estate transaction in Turkey.
Drawing on the global resources of the Firm, our team in Turkey bring both breadth of experience and local know-how to our clients' most important business challenges.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Law Firm of the Year, Turkey
Chambers Europe Award for Excellence, 2014 & 2015
Best Firm in Turkey
Euromoney Europe Women in Business Law Awards, 2015
The only Tier 1 Foreign Firm
The Legal 500
Tier 1 in all practice areas
Tier 1: Turkey
BBVA acquisition of Garanti Bank
We represented Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) in the acquisition of a 14.89 percent stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank for approximately €1.9 billion. As a result of the transaction, BBVA’s stake in Garanti Bank increased from 25 percent to 39.9 percent. We also represented BBVA in its acquisition of its initial stake of 25 percent of Garanti Bank for US$5.9 billion in 2010. That transaction was one of the largest Turkish private sector M&A transactions to date.
We advised lenders and sponsors in several public-privatepartnership (PPP) projects including the following, which were all tendered out by the Ministry of Health in accordance with a PPP model:
Istanbul Third Airport Project: €4.5 billion financing in Turkey
We advised the lenders, consisting of six Turkish banks, namely Ziraat Bank, Halkbank, Vakıfbank, Denizbank, Garanti Bankası and Finansbank, on the €4.5 billion financing of the Third Istanbul Airport Project. The consortium in charge of financing, design, construction and operation of the new airport consists of five Turkish construction companies, namely Cengiz, Mapa, Limak, Kolin and Kalyon. The total investment amount of the project is more than €10 billion. It represents the largest airport financing to date globally.
GAMA ENERGY – Sale of minority stake to IFC
We represented Gama Holding in (i) its acquisition of 50 percent of the shares in Gama Enerji, which owns energy and water assets in Turkey and Jordan, from its JV partner General Electric Energy and Financial Services and (ii) the subsequent sale of 27 percent of the shares in Gama Enerji to the International Finance Corporation (the IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and GIF, a fund managed by the IFC Asset Management Company. Prior to the sale to IFC and GIF, we also assisted Gama Holding in the restructuring of its Turkish and Jordanian businesses and in the loan for the financing of such restructuring. The restructuring and the transactions were very complex and involved White & Case M&A and finance lawyers in Turkey and London, and outside counsel in Holland and Jordan. This acquisition by IFC and GIF represents their first equity investment in the infrastructure sector in Turkey and one of IFC’s largest equity investments in the infrastructure sector globally.
Kemerkoy and Yenikoy thermal power plants
We acted as T. Garanti Bankası’s counsel for the financing of the privatization of the Kemerkoy and Yenikoy thermal power plants and Kemerkoy port facilities.The Kemerkoy thermal plant has three units, each that produce 630 MWs. The Yenikoy thermal plant has two units,each that produce 420 MWs. Both plants use lignite and produce more than 1,000 MWs of energy. There are a total of 22 thermal plants in Turkey.
First‑ever Turkish mortgage-covered bonds
We represented the arranger banks in the structuring of the first-ever Turkish mortgage-covered bonds. The proposed issuers are Türkiye Garanti Bankası A.Ş. and Türkiye Vakıflar Bankası T.A.O., which are respectively the third- and seventh-largest banks in Turkey.
Emlak Konut Gayrimenkul Yatırım Ortaklığı A.Ş.
We represented Emlak Konut Gayrimenkul Yatırım Ortaklığı A.Ş., as the issuer, in its secondary public offering via rights issuance increasing its free float to 51 percent. Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as the global coordinator and international bookrunner, whereas Halk Yatırım acted as the domestic bookrunner. The transaction closed in November 11, 2013 and is Turkey’s biggest primary equity raising to date with proceeds exceeding US$1.6 billion (TRY 3.25 billion). The transaction is the largest European real estate equity raising in the last five years.
We represented Yıldız Holding in the sale of an 80 percent shareholding in Ak Gıda, one of the largest producers of dairy products in Turkey with revenues of US$700 million in 2014, to Mayenne-based French food producer Lactalis, a multinational corporation, one of Europe’s largest producers of dairy products and the 15th-largest food company worldwide, for an undisclosed amount.
Mid Europa Partners acquisition of Customer Management Center (CMC)
We represented Mid Europa Partners (MEP) in its acquisition from ISS, a listed world leader in the provision of facility services headquartered in Denmark, of a 100 percent shareholding in Customer Management Center (CMC). MEP is a leading buyout investor focused on the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey, with more than €4.2 billion worth of funds raised and managed since its inception. CMC is the largest independent outsourced call center and customer management services provider in Turkey. It operates four call centers in Istanbul, Malatya and Şanlıurfa and provides both inbound as well as outbound services to blue chip corporate customers operating in various industries.
Çukurova Holding A.Ş.'s victory in a seven-year dispute with Russia's Alfa Group
We secured a victory for Çukurova Holding A.Ş., as a seven-year dispute with Russia's Alfa Group came to an end when Çukurova regained its controlling interest in Turkcell, the largest mobile telecommunications company in Turkey. Giving effect to the order that it had won in the Privy Council in March 2014, Çukurova paid US$1.6 billion to redeem the security over the Turkcell shares, financed by a loan from Ziraat Bank, a state-owned Turkish bank. The case concerned a strategically significant block of Turkcell shares that Çukurova had provided to Alfa as collateral for a loan in 2005. Alfa claimed that Çukurova was in default under the loan facility and purported to appropriate the shares by way of enforcement. The litigation began in 2007 in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and has involved 14 hearings before the Commercial Court in the BVI, seven appeals to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and eight hearings before the Privy Council in London.
Kumport terminal acquisition, 2015
We advised a consortium comprising China Merchants Holdings, COSCO Pacific and CIC on their proposed acquisition of a majority stake in the Kumport terminal near Istanbul from the Fiba Group.