ISTANBUL — Edelman is scaling back in Turkey, three and a half years after launching an operation in the country.

Edelman moves to a minority 'affiliate plus' position in the office, with GM Serra Türk Büyükfirat (pictured) continuing as majority shareholder. Edelman Turkey employs 18 staff and has around 20 clients, including PwC, GSK, Dove and Becel.

The development comes amid a media crackdown in Turkey, and continuing geographic instability because of Turkey's proximity to Syria. Edelman Europe CEO Michael Stewart pulled his firm out of Russia last year, and the latest decision continues his strategy of paring back the firm's European footprint where necessary.

"Our strategy in the region is focused on building out global hubs that can serve communications marketing clients at scale, so it no longer makes sense to have a wholly-owned office the size of our Turkish operation," said Stewart.

Last week, Edelman reported that global revenue had grown 7.2% on a like-for-like basis to $855m. However, global COO Matt Harrington noted that the firm does not intend to extend its geographic footprint in the near-term.

Büyükfirat joined Edelman in 2012, after heading brand and communications at Türk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB), a banking joint venture with BNP Paribas. Prior to joining TEB, Büyükfirat oversaw corporate communications at AVEA, a leading mobile network operator in Turkey. She has also held a number of senior agency positions at global firms including Wunderman and Young & Rubicam International.

"Nothing will change in the lives of our clients or our staff, as we are moving forward with the same team, with the same high quality of services, enhanced by Edelman standards, quality and global network," said Büyükfirat. "While we continue to serve our existing clients, we are confident and determined to further grow our business in Turkey with many successful campaigns."