Orhan Akinci established the firm in Izmir in 1984. Almost three decades later, Ziya Akinci – Orhan’s son – is one of the country’s more in-demand arbitrators. He became a member of the ICC Court in 2006. The firm opened its Istanbul office in 2003; a third office in Antalya followed in 2005. And last year, the firm became the first Turkish practice to appear in the GAR 100.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$290 million
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 11 (of which 0 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
With the number of Turkey-related arbitrations on the rise, Akinci Law Office is proving to be one of the go-to firms, especially for construction
Who uses it?
Construction types, mostly. The firm estimates that it’s played a role in all major construction cases relating to Turkey over the past decade. Indeed it’s begun holding conferences on construction matters.
Lately, though, its business has been expanding. In addition, the firm now acts for a number of clients in the energy and utilities industries. It has also been on many of the ICC cases brought to date against Turkish parties, and it claims to have advised in some capacity on every ICSID case initiated by a Turkish investor or against the Turkish government. Akinci was counsel (alongside Latham & Watkins) to ATA Construction in long-running and acrimonious ICSID proceedings against Jordan over a dam built on the Dead Sea. It also advised Turkish telecoms company Cukurova in a dispute with Scandinavian phone operator TeliaSonera over control of Turkcell.
In April 2011, the firm welcomed British barrister Fatma Huseyin and a civil engineer to advise on construction cases.
The firm consolidated its reputation for construction when it helped one of Turkey’s largest construction companies, Tubin, face off against German behemoth Bilfinger Berger. Tubin had been subcontracted to take on approximately US$100 million worth of work in constructing a motorway and infrastructure in Qatar Doha. After a disagreement about how much time had been allotted to it and missed payments, Tubin terminated the contract. A final award saw Tuinom fully compensated for its losses.
Reflecting on the case in Turkish journal Dünya, Tubin’s vice president reported a conversation with a bank manager who said that in 35 years, “it was the first time he had ever seen a Turkish company win such a serious and big case against a European, giant company.”
Meanwhile, Ziya Akinci’s ninth book, Arbitration Law of Turkey: Practice and Procedure, was published in 2011.