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Gönenç Gürkaynak

Gönenç Gürkaynak

ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-LawÇitlenbik Sokak No:12Yildiz Mahallesi 34349IstanbulTurkey
Watch interview with Gönenç Gürkaynak

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Gönenç Gürkaynak is an “outstanding” competition lawyer recognised for his “excellent network and fantastic know-how”.

Questions & Answers

Gönenç Gürkaynak is a founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law, a leading law firm of 90 lawyers based in Istanbul. Gönenç heads the competition law and regulatory department of ELIG Gürkaynak, which currently consists of 45 lawyers. He has unparalleled experience in Turkish competition law counselling issues, with more than 20 years of competition law experience, starting with the establishment of the Turkish Competition Authority. Gönenç frequently speaks at conferences and symposia on competition law matters and has published more than 150 articles in English and Turkish in various international and local publications.

What do you enjoy most about working in competition law?

Competition law practice requires a solid legal background, analytical thinking abilities, and an in-depth understanding of economics and market dynamics. It is a fascinating field of law and I find it difficult to understand why all lawyers don’t choose to practise in this area.

What has been the most interesting merger control case you have worked on?

We handled the Turkish merger control filing of one of the highest-valued transactions of the year, with a value of approximately US$71.3 billion, and which involved two global media companies that are engaged in various businesses, including TV channels and content production, and film distribution. The deal was interesting due to its high complexity, as the transaction resulted in a horizontal overlap within seven separate markets, and a vertical overlap within two separate markets.

On what matters have clients most frequently asked you for advice over the past year? What would you say is driving this?

Over the past year, clients most frequently sought our legal advice on matters of mergers and acquisitions, merger control filings, and notification requirements. According to the Merger and Acquisition Insight Report of the Turkish Competition Authority, the Turkish Competition Board reviewed a total of 223 transactions in 2018. This is an increase of approximately 20 per cent over the previous year, and also the highest number of cases per year, within the period assessed (2013–2018).

The Authority continues to pay close attention to developments in EU competition law, seeking to retain harmony between EU and Turkish competition law instruments.

Recent practice also shows that remedies and conditional clearances are becoming increasingly important in Turkish merger control enforcement. The Turkish Competition Authority’s practices, in line with its Guidelines on Remedies, are therefore another matter in which clients are showing increased interest.

How do you see preventative measures, such as compliance programmes, increasing in relevance when advising clients?

Compliance programmes are fast becoming the heart of what a competition lawyer does, and I anticipate that preventative measures will also gain more value in the future. Reactive competition lawyers will have to adapt to the proactive action expectations of their clients.

How do you see the Turkish Competition Authority changing its focus in the next five years?

The Turkish Competition Board has shifted its focus from standard merger control cases to the fight against cartels and to challenging certain types of unilateral conduct. The Authority is likely to maintain its well-earned reputation as one of the most active competition enforcement agencies in the region. Meanwhile, it seems obvious that the growing isolationist trends in the global economy will also test international harmonisation efforts with respect to competition law enforcement.

What do globalisation and a more diverse global economy mean for lawyers and policymakers in the field of competition?

Increased collaboration among competition authorities will mean more collaboration among competition lawyers from different jurisdictions. As for the impact on policymakers, it appears that enforcement trends will emerge more quickly and in a more impactful fashion.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

I am proud to be a founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law. The firm has grown from strength to strength in the past 15 years and we now have a very talented team of 90 lawyers. I share my passion for all areas of law with them. We also have the pleasure of working with many highly respected multinational companies and with law firms from around the globe. In terms of the local community, we place great importance and emphasis on our support of non-governmental and environmental projects within Turkey as part of our ongoing commitment to these issues.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own firm?

First of all, I would advise them to know themselves and their capabilities very well. Put simply, starting your own firm is very different from working for another firm in terms of workload, pace and responsibilities. Consider your work/life balance very carefully, especially if you will be working with international clients in different time zones, since your own firm will take up much more of your time and energy. On top of legal advisory, you will also be surprised at how much administrative work and specialised knowledge are required to run a business, so ensure that you install a stable system and trustworthy people from the very beginning. Actively engage in business development and networking opportunities, but also never forget to take the time to connect with your existing clients.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Gönenç Gürkaynak is an “outstanding” competition lawyer recognised for his “excellent network and fantastic know-how”.

Questions & Answers

Gönenç Gürkaynak is a founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law, a leading law firm of 90 lawyers based in Istanbul. Gönenç heads the competition law and regulatory department of ELIG Gürkaynak, which currently consists of 45 lawyers. He has unparalleled experience in Turkish competition law counselling issues, with more than 20 years of competition law experience, starting with the establishment of the Turkish Competition Authority. Gönenç frequently speaks at conferences and symposia on competition law matters and has published more than 150 articles in English and Turkish in various international and local publications.

What do you enjoy most about working in competition law?

Competition law practice requires a solid legal background, analytical thinking abilities, and an in-depth understanding of economics and market dynamics. It is a fascinating field of law and I find it difficult to understand why all lawyers don’t choose to practise in this area.

What has been the most interesting merger control case you have worked on?

We handled the Turkish merger control filing of one of the highest-valued transactions of the year, with a value of approximately US$71.3 billion, and which involved two global media companies that are engaged in various businesses, including TV channels and content production, and film distribution. The deal was interesting due to its high complexity, as the transaction resulted in a horizontal overlap within seven separate markets, and a vertical overlap within two separate markets.

On what matters have clients most frequently asked you for advice over the past year? What would you say is driving this?

Over the past year, clients most frequently sought our legal advice on matters of mergers and acquisitions, merger control filings, and notification requirements. According to the Merger and Acquisition Insight Report of the Turkish Competition Authority, the Turkish Competition Board reviewed a total of 223 transactions in 2018. This is an increase of approximately 20 per cent over the previous year, and also the highest number of cases per year, within the period assessed (2013–2018).

The Authority continues to pay close attention to developments in EU competition law, seeking to retain harmony between EU and Turkish competition law instruments.

Recent practice also shows that remedies and conditional clearances are becoming increasingly important in Turkish merger control enforcement. The Turkish Competition Authority’s practices, in line with its Guidelines on Remedies, are therefore another matter in which clients are showing increased interest.

How do you see preventative measures, such as compliance programmes, increasing in relevance when advising clients?

Compliance programmes are fast becoming the heart of what a competition lawyer does, and I anticipate that preventative measures will also gain more value in the future. Reactive competition lawyers will have to adapt to the proactive action expectations of their clients.

How do you see the Turkish Competition Authority changing its focus in the next five years?

The Turkish Competition Board has shifted its focus from standard merger control cases to the fight against cartels and to challenging certain types of unilateral conduct. The Authority is likely to maintain its well-earned reputation as one of the most active competition enforcement agencies in the region. Meanwhile, it seems obvious that the growing isolationist trends in the global economy will also test international harmonisation efforts with respect to competition law enforcement.

What do globalisation and a more diverse global economy mean for lawyers and policymakers in the field of competition?

Increased collaboration among competition authorities will mean more collaboration among competition lawyers from different jurisdictions. As for the impact on policymakers, it appears that enforcement trends will emerge more quickly and in a more impactful fashion.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

I am proud to be a founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law. The firm has grown from strength to strength in the past 15 years and we now have a very talented team of 90 lawyers. I share my passion for all areas of law with them. We also have the pleasure of working with many highly respected multinational companies and with law firms from around the globe. In terms of the local community, we place great importance and emphasis on our support of non-governmental and environmental projects within Turkey as part of our ongoing commitment to these issues.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own firm?

First of all, I would advise them to know themselves and their capabilities very well. Put simply, starting your own firm is very different from working for another firm in terms of workload, pace and responsibilities. Consider your work/life balance very carefully, especially if you will be working with international clients in different time zones, since your own firm will take up much more of your time and energy. On top of legal advisory, you will also be surprised at how much administrative work and specialised knowledge are required to run a business, so ensure that you install a stable system and trustworthy people from the very beginning. Actively engage in business development and networking opportunities, but also never forget to take the time to connect with your existing clients.

Global Leader

Competition 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Gönenç Gürkaynak “considers the topic not only on a legal basis but also from a business standpoint”, report impressed sources. They add, “He understands what clients need and combines his fundamental academic skills with his commercial experience while drawing his conclusions."

Peers and clients say:

"Gönenç is very impressive at all levels."

"Mr Gürkaynak is an utterly outstanding competition specialist,"

"He has an excellent network and fantastic know-how."

"Gönenç is very much a go-to competition lawyer."

Biography

Gönenç Gürkaynak is a founding partner, and head of the competition law and regulatory department, of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law. Gönenç graduated from Ankara University in 1997 and was called to the Istanbul Bar in 1998. He has an LLM from Harvard Law School, and is qualified to practise in Istanbul, New York, Brussels, and England and Wales (currently a non-practising solicitor). Before founding ELIG Gürkaynak in 2005, Gönenç worked as an attorney at the Istanbul, New York and Brussels offices of a global law firm for over eight years.

Gönenç's main areas of practice include competition; anti-corruption and white-collar irregularities; internet law; freedom of expression and fundamental rights and freedoms, compliance; contracts; administrative law; and commercial litigation.

Gönenç’s competition law experience goes back more than 20 years, starting from the establishment of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA). He has represented defendants and complainants in complex antitrust investigations concerning all forms of abuse of dominant position allegations, and restrictive horizontal and vertical arrangements. These include price-fixing, retail price maintenance, refusal to supply, territorial restrictions and concerted practice allegations. Every year Gönenç represents multinational companies and large domestic clients in more than 35 written and oral defences in TCA investigations; about 15 antitrust appeal cases in the High Administrative Court; and over 85 TCA merger clearances, in addition to coordinating worldwide merger notifications, drafting non-compete agreements and clauses, and preparing hundreds of legal memoranda concerning various of Turkish and EC competition law topics.

Gönenç also has considerable expertise in administrative law, and represent clients before the High State Court, both on the merits of a case and for injunctive relief. He also advises on a wide range of antitrust-related business transactions including distributorship, licensing, franchising and toll manufacturing issues.

Investigations 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Gönenç Gürkaynak is a towering figure in the market, well acquainted with advising clients on anti-corruption and corporate compliance.

Biography

Mr Gönenç Gürkaynak is a founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law, a leading law firm of 90 lawyers based in Istanbul, Turkey. Mr Gürkaynak graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Law in 1997 and was called to the Istanbul Bar in 1998. Mr Gürkaynak received his LLM degree from Harvard Law School and is qualified to practise in Istanbul, New York, Brussels, and England and Wales (currently as a non-practising solicitor). Before founding the firm in 2005, Mr Gürkaynak worked as an attorney at the Istanbul, New York and Brussels offices of a global law firm for more than eight years.

Mr Gürkaynak heads the firm’s regulatory and compliance department, with a significant practice in Turkey focusing on internal investigations and white-collar criminal matters. The practice advises clients in connection with Turkish corporate compliance issues under the relevant OECD Convention, the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and Turkish anti-corruption laws.

ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law has developed work plans for many internal investigations on the Turkish operations of multinational companies and large Turkish conglomerates; interviewed more than 200 employees; drafted disclosure petitions; dealt with the PR and GR aspects of related projects; prepared extensive white-collar due diligence reports; provided over 80 FCPA trainings; and helped clients adopt and implement policies to detect and ensure full corporate compliance in Turkey.

Mr Gürkaynak often speaks at international and national conferences on anti-corruption matters, and has published more than 200 articles in English and Turkish. He holds teaching positions at undergraduate and graduate levels at two universities, and lectures at other universities in Turkey.

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