Can Yeginsu on Istanbul Arbitration Week

Istanbul Arbitration Week 2023 wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, with the leading minds in international arbitration gathering to discuss trends in the practice. ISTAW is hosted by the Energy Disputes Arbitration Center. 

Can Yeginsu, a leading barrister at 3 Verulam Buildings in London, was part of "The ISTAW Fireside: Building the Foundations for Turkey’s Future in International Arbitration and International Dispute Settlement." We caught up with Yeginsu to get his insights on current trends in international arbitration, and ways in which Turkey is emerging as a hub for arbitration. 

Lawdragon: Could you please give our readers an overview of your practice?

Can Yeginsu: I practice in commercial litigation, international commercial and investment arbitration, civil fraud, public law and human rights, and public international law.

I also sit as an arbitrator.

LD: Are there any interesting trends you can share in terms of the types of matters keeping you busy in your international arbitration practice?

CY: Civil fraud pleas in commercial arbitration seem to be on the increase, as are enforcement actions, particularly in Council of Europe States, engaging human rights arguments. Failed enforcement actions are also continuing to lead to denial of justice claims being considered – and intimated – by foreign investors against States.

LD: Why do you think Turkey is emerging as an arbitration hub?

CY: Turkey’s key strength is its international arbitration community. And the success of Istanbul Arbitration Week is a real testament not only to the vision of its organizers – who are to be congratulated – but also to the thriving domestic and international arbitration community in Turkey. This has been helped by the emergence of arbitral centers in the jurisdiction, such as ISTAC and EDAC.

LD: What are some of the major takeaways from your ISTAW fireside chat?

CY: Our focus in the ISTAW Fireside was two-fold.

First, we discussed the importance of international law to the framework of international dispute settlement.

For Turkey to build its foundations for the future as a center for dispute settlement, the arbitration community needs to move beyond a focus on the arbitral process itself, and to consider the broader framework in which it is set. This is happening.

Secondly, we talked about the importance of greater transparency when it comes to the approach the Turkish Courts are taking to arbitration related matters, including in enforcement actions in the jurisdiction.

I think the time has come for an informed and open debate and consultation on the desirability and feasibility of establishing a specialist arbitration chamber within the Istanbul Commercial Court.

LD: Did you learn anything new from this discussion?

CY: Lots! It was particularly good to hear about the steps being taken by the Turkish Presidency’s International Arbitration Department from Professor Eda Manav Ozdemir, both in Turkey and at the international level to strengthen the foundations for international dispute settlement.

LD: What would you like to see in Istanbul moving forward to secure its spot as a prominent venue for international arbitration, akin to Paris, Geneva and Frankfurt?

CY: Let’s not forget London!

I think the time has come for an informed and open debate and consultation on the desirability and feasibility of establishing a specialist arbitration chamber within the Istanbul Commercial Court, with five or so specialist judges trained in international arbitration and dispute settlement.

All successful arbitral centers need strong and supportive courts to ensure that the arbitral process can function effectively. Istanbul is no exception.

A specialist arbitration chamber would have an incentive not only to develop a confident understanding of the arbitral process itself, but also the domestic and international law underpinning it.

The establishment of a specialist chamber in Turkey, with appropriately trained and experienced judges, could well mark another watershed moment for arbitration in Turkey.