Mention competition law in Turkey and for many the first firm that springs to mind is ELİG Attorneys at Law. Widely regarded as the leading competition practice in the country, ELİG’s team is led by renowned specialist Gönenç Gürkaynak. Having earned his stripes over several years at White & Case in Brussels and New York, Gürkaynak returned to Istanbul in 2005 to head up ELİG’s competition group.
Gürkaynak says he has been part of several of Turkey’s competition milestones. He acted in some of the TCA’s first competition investigations, handled some of the earliest merger filings and entered the first leniency application to the TCA in 2009. Four senior associates and 10 associates support him, making ELİG the largest competition practice in Turkey. “If there’s anything interesting going on in competition law in Turkey, you’ll find that we are a part of it,” says Gürkaynak.
He says the firm handles around 35 merger applications a year, and almost all of the TCA’s Phase II merger investigations to date. One of the firm’s most prominent clients is Turkish Airlines, and ELİG recently advised the airline in a long-running abuse of dominance dispute over alleged predatory pricing. In January, the TCA cleared Turkish Airlines of the allegations and closed the investigation without imposing sanctions.
ELİG is also representing clients in several of the TCA’s cartel investigations, taking in the cement, medical device and locking system markets. Gürkaynak says the firm is handling around a dozen cartel probes and sector inquiries. As well as this, the firm continues to run compliance seminars and programmes, act for clients in appeals before the High State Court and advise in a few private litigation matters.