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Turkish government storms top law firm as another abandons practice in North Korea

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Turbulent times for international solicitors

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A Turkish law firm affiliated with City giant DLA Piper has been closed down by the government following its alleged involvement in the country’s attempted coup.

According to local media reports, the country’s largest law firm YukselKarkin — which formed an allegiance with DLA Piper in 2010 — is no more.

In the wake of a failed coup — when, just one day after the Nice terror attack in early July, the Turkish military attempted to overthrow the government — “armed police” raided YukselKarkin and arrested four of the firm’s partners.

Legal Cheek is now unable to access the firm’s website (screenshot below) but a version remains online via the Google cache.

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Though the official reason for police involvement is not known, CEE Legal Matters, a publication which specialises in European legal markets, reported that the firm:

[W]as rumored to be associated with exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the recent failed coup attempt in the country.

Moving yet further to the east and news breaks that North Korea’s only foreign law firm has aborted its practice.

Hay, Kalb & Associates was set up by British-French citizen Michael Hay in 2004, and was based in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

However, after its 12 years of life, a notice has been posted on the law firm’s website stating:

It is with regret that Hay, Kalb & Associates (HK&A), announces its decision to suspend all of its activities inside the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], more commonly known as North Korea.

The notice continues:

This decision has been take [sic] only after lengthy and thorough deliberation and an examination of the continuing deterioration of inter-regional relations pertaining to the Korea Peninsula… This decision is by no means taken lightly, as HK&A has so far maintained a positive view of the overall Korean situation, despite the numerous challenges.

The revelation comes just hours before a TV programme was broadcast on BBC1, exploring what life is like for North Koreans living under its “secretive state”.