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Two-minute Recap of Recent Developments in Turkish Competition Law - November 2023

Turkish Competition Activity Tracker 2023-11x

 

RPM cases has become fashionable in cosmetics/personal care

On 14 November 2023, the Turkish Competition Authority announced its decision regarding undertakings operating in the cosmetics and personal care products sector. The Board separately examined the undertakings’ RPM activities, internet sales restrictions and their participation in the hub-and-spoke agreements.

With the combination of settlements and commitments, the Turkish Competition Board announced that the investigation is now closed. Nine companies involved in the investigation were fined for a total of approx. EUR 6.2 million.

In a separate investigation concerning Avon’s RPM practices, the Turkish Competition Board reached a settlement with Avon. As a result of the settlement Avon was fined for approx. EUR 200.000.

The Turkish Competition Board’s hot pursuit of platforms continues – automatic pricing mechanisms under scrutiny

On 15 November 2023, the Turkish Competition Authority announced that it launched an investigation into leading Turkish e-commerce platforms Trendyol and Hepsiburada as well as Amazon Turkey to determine whether they infringed Turkish competition law by way of automatic pricing mechanisms.

 

Ready-mixed concrete and cement sector faces full-fledged investigations (again, new, once again)

The Turkish Competition Authority announced that it had initiated three separate full-fledged investigations concerning different regions, against ready-mixed concrete and cement producers. The allegations are price fixing, sharing markets/customers, RPM and wage fixing.

 

Stay in the loop – the Turkish Competition Authority announced that it has entered the newsletter game and it is in English!

The Turkish Competition Authority has announced its quarterly newsletter, titled “Competition Newsletter”. The newsletter will be in English. In its first issue, the Turkish Competition Authority shared brief information about the cases it concluded and its newly initiated cases. The first issue of the Turkish Competition Authority’s new letter can be reached via this link.

One does not simply keep their phones from the Turkish Competition Authority

Empa, a real estate company, was recently fined on an on-site inspection due to an employee rejecting the examination of his personal phone. Despite the efforts of the case handlers, stating that only the work-related correspondences will be reviewed, none of the personal data will be kept by them and will be immediately deleted right after the examination, the employee rejected the request. He stated that the examination of his personal phone will only be possible with a warrant issued by a judge or a public prosecutor.

On-site inspections of the Turkish Competition Authority are currently subject to a dispute after the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court, the latter stating that conducting an on-site inspection without a warrant issued by a judge will infringe constitutional rights. However, since the decision of the constitutional court was given based on an individual application[1], the law regulating the on-site inspections still stands until such time the parliament amends the law or until the constitutional court have a formal chance to repeal the law.

 

The accountant did it! – The cosmetics company fined for providing false information

The Turkish Competition Board had fined Farmasi, a cosmetics company, for providing false information to an information request, during the investigation phase. Within the re-evaluation application submitted by Farmasi, the undertaking stated that fine imposed for declaring the intra-group sales erroneously was wrong, since it was calculated by an independent sworn financial advisor.

This defence was not accepted by the Turkish Competition Board. It stated that every document submitted during the investigation phase was Farmasi’s responsibility and providing false information on financial tables was not within the scope of the right of defence.

 

December, the month of oral hearings

The Turkish Competition Authority has announced the oral hearings that will take place in December:

Investigation Parties

Date

Allegations

Uğur Soğutma Makinaları

5 December 2023

Violation of Article 4 (akin to Article 101 TFEU)

IT companies

12-13 December 2023

Violation of Article 4 (akin to Article 101 TFEU) through gentleman’s agreement on the labour market

Danone and Nestle

19 December 2023

Violation of Article 4 (akin to Article 101 TFEU) through anti-competitive information exchange

 

 

For more information please contact Bulut Girgin, Partner, Head of Competition & Compliance, at bgirgin@gentemizerozer.com, Associate Enis Doğa Küçükay, at dkucukay@gentemizerozer.com, or Legal Trainee Efe Utku Çal, at ecal@gentemizerozer.com.

 

 


[1] The Constitutional Court can only determine a violation on the basis of an individual application but cannot repeal the law.