Turkish Competition Authority responses to the COVID-19 outbreak
27 March 2020 – As many competition authorities around the world make announcements on their approach to the global COVID-19 outbreak, we have been waiting to see how the Turkish Competition Authority (the “TCA”) will respond to the crisis.
As anticipated, the TCA has made two recent announcements on COVID-19. On 23 March the TCA released a short general announcement regarding price gouging, with a focus on the fruits and vegetables market. On 25 March, the president of the TCA issued a press release in which he used strong words against undertakings involved in price gouging. The announcements in essence indicated that;
- The TCA has observed rapid increases in price in certain markets, in particular in fruits and vegetables.
- The TCA closely monitors the prices of essential commodities and will take any step to maintain the market economy and competitive landscape.
- There will be zero-tolerance for artificial price increases and supply shortages.
- The president of the TCA also stated, by mentioning the maximum 10% turnover penalty, that infringers will be fined to the highest extent possible and that their conduct will be exposed to the public eye.
- The TCA stated that it will decide, at a Board meeting on 26 March, on a price gouging case related to fruit and vegetable producers, but as of now there are no words on this issue.
Although no other announcements regarding procedural processes have been made yet, two oral hearings due on 14 and 15 April have been postponed indefinitely.
Business remains as usual with regards to merger filings but we can expect some delays. On 26 March, six new decisions on mergers control filings and were published on the TCA’s website. These were decided at the Competition Board meeting held 19 March. In addition to this, a functioning online filing infrastructure has been in place for many years, and this may be used instead of hand delivery for obvious reasons.
We will keep you updated of any developments in Turkish competition law and on further measures taken by the TCA in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak.