Two-minute recap of recent developments in Turkish competition law – July 2021
In July 2021, the Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”) approved 33 merger control filings and published 20 reasoned decisions. Another important development is that the Regulation on Settlement Procedure for Investigations on Anticompetitive Agreements, Concerted Practices, Decisions and Abuse of Dominant Position (the “Settlement Regulation“) which was issued by the Board on 15 July 2021, entered into force by being published in the Official Gazette on 16 July 2021.
Sahibinden.com dodges a bullet—this time
The Board had launched an investigation following Ankara’s 6th Administrative Court’s annulment decision of the Board’s first decision against Sahibinden Bilgi Teknolojileri Paz. ve Tic. AŞ to determine if Sahibinden.com had abused its dominant position in the online platform service markets for vehicle and real estate sales/rental services by applying excessive prices. The Board finalized this investigation and ruled that Sahibinden.com did not violate Turkish Competition Law.
As a result of the investigation; the Board ruled that there was no need to impose an administrative fine on Sahibinden.com. The Court’s decision emphasised that a higher standard of proof should be adopted in excessive pricing cases, as is generally accepted and practiced in the United States and the European Union. The Competition Board’s precedents also support this conclusion.
Problem-solving summit for the e-marketplace sector
On 6 July 2021, the Competition Authority held the E-marketplace Platforms Sector Inquiry Preliminary Report Workshop to address problems facing the e-marketplace sector. The key aspects of proposed solutions were also evaluated. The workshop started with an opening speech from Competition Authority President Birol Küle.
In his speech, Mr. Küle pointed out that digitalisation stands out as an important item on the Competition Authority’s agenda based on its benefits and rapid transformation ability, as well as its undeniable effects on economic growth and the healthy functioning of markets. At the same time, Mr. Küle also drew attention to the fact that there may be certain disruptions in markets shaped by digitalisation and that, especially during the last decade, the restrictive effects of digitalisation on competition has been proven, including in traditional markets. In Mr. Küle’s words, “The market power in digital platforms, perhaps paradoxically, has become more permanent. The progress and effects of digitalisation face a more cautious stance from competition authorities all over the world in this context.”
After the presentation, sector representatives evaluated the problems experienced and presented suggestions for solutions as well as the e-marketplace sector review preliminary report. As a result of the report’s findings, digitalisation in Turkish competition law will be accelerated.
Competition law violation from pharmaceutical warehouses
The Board has concluded its investigation launched against Deva Holding A.Ş., Gül Ecza Deposu Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., Haver Farma İlaç A.Ş. and Sonuç Ecza Deposu A.Ş. and has imposed administrative fines.
According to the decision, the investigation was launched based on allegations that drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical warehouses violated Law No. 4054 in the context of drug sales to hospitals by engaging in various concerted practices aimed at determining between them an above-value price for medications.
As a result of the decision, the Board decided that:
- Gül Ecza Deposu, Haver Farma İlaç, and Sonuç Ecza Deposu engaged in acts that amount to an infringement of Law No. 4054, thus an administrative fine of TRL 4,605,320.74 (approximately EUR 454,620) was imposed on Gül Ecza Deposu, and an administrative fine of TRL 1,408,899.08 (approximately EUR 139,081) on Sonuç Ecza Deposu;
- Deva Holding and Haver Farma İlaç on the other hand, did not violate Article 4 of Law No. 4054, and therefore no administrative fine was imposed.
For more information please contact Bulut Girgin, Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ceren Ceyhan, Associate, at email@example.com, and Sıla Dilaver, Legal Trainee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Turkish Competition Board decision dated 1 October 2018 and numbered 18-38/584-285