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The Board Strikes Back: Another record-breaking fine imposed on Google

April 2021 – Following its TL 196 million (approx. USD 25.6 million) fine imposed on Google in November 2020, the Turkish Competition Board has once again found Google in violation of Turkish Competition Law and imposed a record-breaking administrative monetary fine of TL 296 million (approx. USD 37 million) against the company on 8 April 2021.

The Board rendered its decision following an investigation concerning the allegation that Google abused its dominant position by way of excluding its competitors in the market for general search services, promoting its local search and accommodation price-comparison services.

As a result of the investigation, the Board decided that Google has indeed abused its dominant position and restricted competition in the markets for local search services and accommodation price-comparison service through:

  • Discrimination and self-preferencing: The Board stated that Google gave its local search and accommodation price-comparison services an advantage over its competitors in terms of location and impression on the general search results page, and
  • Prevention of Access: The Board states that Google prevented local competitor search sites from entering the Local Unit, which caused difficulties in competitors' activities.

In addition to the administrative monetary fine, the Board also decided that Google is required to:

  • provide conditions under which competitor local search service providers and competitor accommodation price-comparison service providers would not be disadvantaged from Google’s related services within six months from the formal service of the reasoned decision; and
  • submit annual reports to the Authority for a period of five years beginning from the date when the first compliance measures have been implemented.

With its on-going sector inquiry and increasing number of investigations and decisions, the Turkish Competition Board continues to demonstrate that it is closely monitoring the digital sector. Another noteworthy aspect of this decision is that it is the fourth time in three short years that the Board has imposed an administrative monetary fine against Google.

For further information please contact Bulut Girgin, Counsel, at bgirgin@gentemizerozer.com, Merve Öner Kabadayı, Associate, at moner@gentemizerozer.com and Ceren Ceyhan, Associate, at cceyhan@gentemizerozer.com.