Allen & Overy to offer Turkish advice following local tie-up

Allen & Overy (A&O) has expanded in Turkey through an exclusive tie-up with new firm Gedik & Eraksoy, and will now be able to offer clients local-law expertise.

A&O’s exclusive association with Gedik & Eraksoy goes live today. The Turkish firm has two partners and eight associates. Founding partners Hakki Gedik and Gökhan Eraksoy were joint heads of banking at Hergüner Bilgen Özeke – a top tier firm in corporate and finance work in Turkey – until August, when they signed up with A&O and brought a team of associates with them.

A&O is forced to expand through a tie-up because of Turkish bar rules, which prevent foreign firms from practising local law themselves. A&O first opened an office in Turkey in May (5 December 2011), when partner Charles Lindsay moved to Istanbul along with senior associate Karen Lee and banking associate Seyda Duman, targeting project finance, capital markets, lending and M&A work.

“The initial plan was to build an English-law finance practice,” said Turkey senior partner Lindsay. “That was what we built the business case on. But if an opportunity came to form a tie-up with the right people we were always going to take it. With Hakki and Gökhan I think we have two of the best people in the market.”

According to Lindsay, it was Hakki and Gökhan who first approached A&O about forming an association. The pair had previously worked with A&O on various banking and M&A deals in Turkey. Once the deal was struck, A&O moved into larger serviced offices in Istanbul to accommodate the new team, though both sides of the practice – Gedik & Eraksoy’s Turkish advocate partnership and A&O’s foreign advocate partnership – occupy separate spaces in the building in accordance with local bar rules.

Since launching in Turkey, A&O has scored a number of high-profile mandates, including advising the banks on Turkey’s biggest lender Akbank’s $1bn bond offering in October (29 October 2012) as well as acting for the bank on a $500m 10-year bond offering by Turkish brewing group Anadolu Efes.

US firm McDermott Will & Emery also launched in Turkey this year (4 January 2012), tying up with local firm Fora & Sanli and focusing on health law.