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Two-Minute Recap of Recent Developments in Turkish Competition Law – March 2022

April 2022 – In March, the Turkish Competition Board approved 27 merger control filings and published 55 reasoned decisions.

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As we briefly mentioned in our February article, Turkish merger control thresholds have been updated, together with other significant changes that take effect in May. Another significant development is that the application regarding the acquisition of the assets of ready-mixed concrete plants belonging to Çimsa Çimento by Çimko Çimento, and the application for the acquisition by Migros of the tenancy rights and fixed assets of 25 stores belonging to Aymar in the Trabzon and Giresun region, have entered Phase II review. This makes three applications that have entered Phase II review in the past two months!

Turkish Merger Control Rules Updated!

The Turkish merger control rules have been changed after a long time. The changes in legislation has been announced on 4th of March 2022 and will enter force in May. For the updated turnover thresholds please see our announcement here.

The first significant change is the introduction of “technology” undertakings. Some of the turnover thresholds will not apply to technology undertakings which in effect makes most transaction concerning the acquisition of such undertakings notifiable. For more information on technology undertakings please find the first article of our series here.

The other merger control rules which have been updated include elements such as the new format of the notification form which will be submitted electronically and structural differences such as the contact information being collected under a single section. It is also seen that the scope of information required for joint ventures and transaction value is extended. For more information on the rules in general please find the second article of our series here.

It is seen that the Board is taking an approach to further harmonize merger control rules with the EU. Amendments have been made to not only the Communiqué on Mergers and Acquisitions but also the Horizontal Guidelines and Non – Horizontal Guidelines. For more information please find the third article of our series here.

Two significant investigations result in no fines

The Board concluded two large-scale investigations in March 2022. Firstly, the investigation carried out to determine whether distributors and car rental companies operating in the first-hand and second-hand vehicle sales markets violated Article 4 of Law No. 4054 has been completed. The Board concluded that there was no violation of the law, and hence the 24 undertakings investigated for the allegations have not been fined.

Secondly, the investigation launched in order to determine whether 23 national and local chain markets operating in the trade of retail food had determined retail prices of water and fresh fruits and vegetables in the period of 2016–2018, before the Covid-19 pandemic, has also been completed. Once again, the Board found no specific documents or evidence with respect to determining retail prices, and accordingly did not impose an administrative fine against the undertakings.

Drink mineral water, digest the investigation

The Board has initiated an investigation against mineral water producers Beypazarı İçecek and Kınık Maden Suları in order to determine if they have restricted competition in the relevant market and violated Article 4 of the Law. The Board found the documents, evidence and findings obtained during the preliminary investigation sufficient to launch an investigation and dig deeper into the case with a full-fledged investigation.

Antalya Port fined for abuse of dominance (again)

The Board concluded its full-fledged investigation conducted against commercial port operator Port Akdeniz and sea cargo logistics companies MSC and Medlogand decided to impose an administrative fine of approximately EUR 216,330 on a port management company.

In the short decision, the Board stated that,

  • No evidence shows that there is an anti-competitive agreement between MSC, Medlog and Port Akdeniz,
  • Port Akdeniz holds the dominant position in the services of container loading and has violated competition law by making difficult the activities of its competitor in this market.
  • As a result, the Board has imposed an administrative fine of approximately EUR 216,330 on Port Akdeniz.

For more information please contact Bulut Girgin, Counsel, at bgirgin@gentemizerozer.com, Ceren Ceyhan, Associate, at cceyhan@gentemizerozer.com, and Sıla Dilaver, Legal Trainee, at sdilaver@gentemizerozer.com.