April 2023 – In March 2023, the Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”) published no reasoned decisions and approved twelve merger and acquisition transactions.
The highlight of Turkish competition law in March was that the Board initiated a new sector inquiry regarding the possible competition effects on cities affected by the devastating earthquake that occurred in February.
The Board pays attention to the after-effects of the earthquake
On 17 March, the Competition Authority (“Authority”) announced that the Board had initiated a sector inquiry regarding the possible effects and outcomes of the earthquake that occurred in February 2023. The sector inquiry report will cover a total of eleven cities that are affected by the earthquake.
According to the announcement, the Board plans to establish a rapid and consistent communication channel with the institutions located in the mentioned cities, particularly with governmental institutions within the scope of the sector inquiry. Accordingly, within the framework of the inquiry, the Board mainly aims to: (i) resolve any possible competition law concerns with the coordinated actions of other governmental institutions; (ii) provide guidance regarding the cooperation between undertakings with respect to the rebuilding of the region; and (iii) prevent any action that may distort or limit the competitive environment of the relevant sectors due to the sudden and high demand in these sectors.
Elon Musk faced with fines for Twitter acquisition in Turkey
According to the announcement dated 6 March, the Board imposed a monetary fine on Elon Musk, as he did not obtain prior approval from the Board for the acquisition of Twitter. In this respect, the Board decided to impose a monetary fine at the rate of 0.1% of Elon Musk’s gross income in Turkey in 2022, while at the same time authorising the acquisition.
For more detailed information on the monetary fine imposed on Elon Musk and the acquisition of technology undertakings in Turkey, please click here.
Decisions on the cement and ready-mix concrete sector published en masse
On 17 March, the Authority published an announcement including the Board’s seven recent short-form decisions regarding undertakings operating in the cement and ready-mix concrete sectors. Accordingly, The Board decided to impose monetary fines on three undertakings due to the hindrance of on-site inspections. The Board also launched two separate investigations involving a total of 22 undertakings.
The Authority publishes its final sector inquiry report on the FMCG industry
On 30 March, the Authority published the final version of its sector inquiry report on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. The Authority’s final report covers a broader spectrum of issues including the general operation and structure of the industry, the possible effects of the undertakings in the retail market, and digitalisation in the FMCG industry.
We set out a brief summary of the suggestions and assessments of the report below:
The Board scrutinises the exchange of information in the car rental sector
In one of its latest decisions, the Board provided another analysis on the anti-competitive information exchange among undertakings in Turkey’s car rental sector. As per its decision regarding the exchanged information by several undertakings operating in the car rental sector, the Board scrutinised the competitively sensitive information that is exchanged indirectly.
The main aspects of the Board’s findings regarding the preliminary investigation into the car rental sector are as follows:
In light of the above findings, the assessments of the Board are as follows:
Consequently, the Board decided not to impose a monetary fine against any of the undertakings scrutinised within the preliminary investigation. Please click here for an analysis of the Board’s recent decision on the car rental undertakings together with the Board’s previous approach regarding information exchange.
For more information please contact Bulut Girgin, Counsel, Head of Competition & Compliance, at email@example.com, and Associates Ceren Ceyhan, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Merve Zeynep Aydaş, at email@example.com.