Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the Mediterranean region. It is, by its location at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black sea, the Middle East and the West, and by its historic and current economic drive, a powerful and dynamic centre of trade and finance. In the last few years, whilst the economy of many European countries has been stagnating, the Turkish economy has flourished, making it now the 16th largest economy in the world and the 5th largest in Europe based on recent GDP figures. The sources of the economic boom are a combination of an unprecedented level of foreign direct investment and strong local investment both in the infrastructure of the country and in the growing Turkish industrial sector (unlike many of their European neighbours, Turkish banks have significant liquidity).

Structural and legal changes have assisted this growth and are likely to continue to do so. Turkey is a young republic created in 1923 on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire by an inspired and inspirational statesman, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who used the various civil codes available to him in Europe (and in particular the Napoleonic codes of France and also the Swiss, German and Italian codes) to draft sets of rules to govern the civil, contractual, commercial, criminal and administrative relations of Turkey – then a young nation in the skin of an old empire.

Apr-Jun 2013 issue

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP