From the enforcer: Competition Authority

Turkey: from the enforcer

Address: Üniversiteler Mahallesi 1597. Cadde No:9 Bilkent Çankaya 06800, Ankara, Turkey
Tel: +90 312 291 44 44
Fax: +90 312 266 79 20
Email: [email protected]

Contacts

Birol Küle
President
Tel: +90 312 291 4010
Email: [email protected]

Arslan Narin
Deputy chairman
Tel: +90 312 291 4027
Email: [email protected]

Şükran Kodalak
Member of the Competition Board
Tel: +90 312 291 4025
Email: [email protected]

Ahmet Algan
Member of the Competition Board
Tel: +90 312 291 4021
Email: [email protected]

Hasan Hüseyin Ünlü
Member of the Competition Board
Tel: +90 312 291 4033
Email: [email protected]

Ayşe Ergezer
Member of the Competition Board
Tel: +90 312 291 4201
Email:[email protected]

Dr. Faik Metin Tiryaki
Vice president
Tel: +90 312 291 40424
Email: [email protected]

Ferhat Topkaya
Vice president
Tel: +90 312 291 4405
Email: [email protected]

Haluk Recai Bostan
Vice president
Tel: +90 312 291 4031
Email: [email protected]

Ali Arıöz
Head of Supervision and Enforcement Department I
Tel: +90 312 291 4403
Email: [email protected]

Hatice Yavuz
Head of Supervision and Enforcement Department II
Tel: +90 312 291 4409
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Hakan Karakoç
Head of Supervision and Enforcement Department III
Tel: +90 312 291 4407
Email: [email protected]

Mücteba Altun
Head of Supervision and Enforcement Department IV
Tel: +90 312 291 4305
Email: [email protected]

Remzi Özge Arıtürk
Head of Supervision and Enforcement Department V
Tel: +90 312 291 4301
Email: [email protected]

Harun Gündüz
Head of the Office of theLegal Adviser
Tel: +90 312 291 4296
Email: [email protected]

Recep Gündüz
Head of External Relations and Competition Advocacy Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4402
Email: [email protected]

Turgay Yılmaz
Head of AdministrativeServices Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4015
Email: [email protected]

Onur Yelda Toy
Head of Decisions Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4023
Email: [email protected]

Zeynep Madan
Head of Economic Analysis and Research Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4380
Email: [email protected]

Ömer Faruk Çelik
Head of InformationSystems Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4303
Email: [email protected]

Meltem Bağış Akkaya
Head of Strategy Development Department
Tel: +90 312 291 4203
Email: [email protected]

Questions and Answers

How long is the head of agency’s term of office?

The head of agency’s term of office is four years.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

Mr. Birol KÜLE was appointed as the head of TCA on 2 November 2020. His term will expire on 3 November 2023.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

The President of Turkey appoints the members of the Competition Board (the Board), the decision-making body of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA), and the head of the TCA.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The agency’s budget for 2019 was 96.1 million Turkish liras and it is 115,7 million Turkish liras for 2020.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

The TCA currently employs 367 personnel, 164 of whom are competition experts.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

Although the TCA is associated with Ministry of Trade, the TCA enjoys administrative and financial autonomy. In carrying out its duties, the TCA is independent. No organisation, authority, entity or person can give orders or directives to influence the final decision of the TCA (article 20 of Act No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition). In short, the president of the TCA is not required to report to any governmental agency. Annual reports are submitted to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for information. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey approves and acquits the budget of the TCA.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers? If so, how do these relate to your role?

Yes. Antitrust rules, including rules on merger control, are primarily applied by the TCA in all sectors of the economy. Regulatory authorities who are mainly responsible for preparing and enforcing economic and technical regulations in certain sectors such as telecommunications, energy and banking have powers to deal with competition issues. Their powers are based on the specific act regulating the sector and duties of the corresponding regulatory agency. However, the State Council clarified that their powers regarding competition issues are rather complementary, not substitute, to the power of the TCA in general.

Telecommunications and postal services legislation requires the TCA to seek the opinion of the regulatory authority (the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA)) when enforcing the Competition Law in the telecommunications sector according to article 7 of the Electronic Communications Law. Likewise, article 6(b) also requires the ICTA to seek the opinion of the TCA ‘in situations envisaged by laws’. Moreover, the TCA sends its opinion to the Information and Communications Technologies Authority regarding draft regulations in the consultation process.

The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) is required to consider the opinions of the legal entities operating in the market and other relevant organisations and institutions when issuing regulations. In line with this provision, it seeks the opinion of the TCA regarding draft regulations.

The Radio Television Supreme Council is responsible for taking ‘essential precautions, in the field of media services, for securing freedom of expression and information, diversity of opinion, media pluralism and competition environment, on the condition that the functions and powers of Turkish Competition Authority are reserved; for avoiding media concentration; and for protecting public interests’. according to article 37 of Law on Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Media Services (Law No. 6112).

In the law on the electricity market (Law No. 6446), the EMRA is also given the duty and power to monitor the actions of the incumbent electricity supply companies and take the necessary cautions in case these companies have unilateral actions or relationships that cause a restrictive effect on competition. According to the above-mentioned provision, the EMRA can take measures including a restructuring of the management or a limitation or dismantling of the control relationship of these supply companies with distribution companies. Furthermore, article 19 in the Banking Act (Law No. 5411) excludes mergers and acquisitions concerning domestic banks and less than the 20 per cent of the sector’s assets from the review of the Competition Act. The article foresees the review of Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency and its Board’s permission for those mergers and acquisitions.

Do politicians have any right to overrule or disregard the decisions of the authority?

No. The decisions of the Board are only subject to appeal before administrative courts.

Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when taking decisions?

No. The aim of the Competition Law, and the duty of the TCA, is to protect competition.

Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this?

The Ankara Administrative Courts are the court of first instance for the agency’s decisions. The intermediate stage courts in the judicial review are the Courts of Appeal. The last instance court for agency’s decisions is the Council of State.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger?

Since it was established 23 years ago, there has been a number of times that the Board blocked a proposed merger. You can find some of the blocked merger cases below.

In 2000, the Board blocked an acquisition through privatisation (IGSAS, 3 November 2000, No. 00-43/464-254). In 2005, the acquisition of a cement company by the highest bidder through privatisation was blocked by the Board. Acquisition by the second highest bidder was authorised instead (Ladik Cement, 20 December 2005, No. 05-86/1188-340). In 2007, the Board blocked acquisition via privatisation of Izmir port by a joint venture group (Privatisation of Izmir port, 20 June 2007, No. 07-53/615-204). In 2009, the Board blocked an acquisition by the dominant undertaking in the raki market of its rival via privatisation (Mey/Burgaz, 18 November 2009, No. 09-56/1325-331). In 2010, the privatisation of four electricity distribution companies was blocked by the Board for certain bidders of particular combinations of the electricity distribution companies involved (Privatisation of Boğaziçi, Gediz, Trakya and Dicle, 16 December 2010 and No. 10-78/1645-609). In 2015, the proposed acquisition of all of the shares of Beta Marina Liman ve Çekek İşletmesi AŞ and Pendik Turizm Marina Yat ve Çekek İşletmesi AŞ by Setur Servis Turistik AŞ, which is controlled by Koç Holding AŞ, was blocked by the Board due to the concerns that, following the transaction, Koç Holding would, while already operating Kalamış Marina, acquire control over İstanbul City Port Marina, the former’s closest competitor and the merged entity would hold significant power in the market, which could then be used to raise prices (Beta Marina, decision date 9 July 2015, Decision No. 15-29/421-118). In 2017, the proposed acquisition of all the shares of Ulusoy Deniz Taşımacılığı AŞ, Ulusoy Gemi İşletmeleri AŞ, Ulusoy Ro-Ro İşletmeleri AŞ, Ulusoy Ro-Ro Yatırımları AŞ, Ulusoy Gemi Acenteliği AŞ, Ulusoy Lojistik Taşımacılık ve Konteyner Hizmetleri AŞ and Ulusoy Çeşme Liman İşletmesi AŞ by UN Ro-Ro İşletmeleri AŞ was blocked by the Board, stating that the transaction would strengthen UN Ro-Ro’s dominant position in the roll-on and roll-off (ro-ro) transportation market between Turkey and Europe, which includes the ro-ro lines departing from İstanbul, İzmir and Mersin and thus would significantly lessen the competition. Furthermore, following the transaction, UN Ro-Ro would acquire dominance in the ro-ro port management market which would significantly restrict the competition. (UN Ro-Ro/Ulusoy, decision dated 9 November 2017, decision No.  17-36/595-259.)

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger?

Yes. The TCA has imposed conditions on a number of mergers. For example, concerning the privatisation of 51 per cent of the shares of Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (Tüpraş, 21 October 2005, No. 05-71/981-270), the Board decided that the acquisition of Tüpraş by a joint venture group that already owned operations in the relevant markets and the affected markets would strengthen the existing dominant position of Tüpraş in the refining market (liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)). However, the Board permitted the transaction on the condition that LPG distribution firms’ access to LPG infrastructure in the Izmir refinery should be allowed three years of direct imports in addition to the practice based on the current protocol signed between Tüpraş and LPG distribution firms enabling such distribution firms to make purchases from imports by Tüpraş. Under these circumstances, the Board concluded that no significant distortion of competition would arise, though the dominance would be strengthened. Moreover, the Board may also authorise a transaction in case the parties offer certain commitments. An example is the Board’s authorisation for the acquisition of cement companies on the condition of exclusion of certain shares from the scope of the acquisition and divestiture of certain shares as committed by the parties to the transaction (OYAK/Lafarge, 18 November 2009, No. 09-56/1338-341).

In Nestlé/Novartis, the acquisition was authorised on the condition of transfer of all the rights on certain drugs to third parties (via transfer of full property ownership through sale or transfer of licence for an indefinite period of time) within one year starting from the date of the decision as committed by the acquiring party (Nestlé/Novartis, 8 July 2010, No. 10-49/929-327). In Mey İçki, the acquisition of Mey İçki by Diageo Plc was authorised by the Board after a final examination process. In its decision on 8 July 2010, the Board conditionally authorised the acquisition of Burgaz Alcoholic Beverages Economic Entity by Mey İçki from the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (SDIF), provided that some amendments and additional conditions were attached to the commitments. Before this process was complete, an application was made in 2 March 2011 concerning the acquisition of Mey İçki by Diageo (the Diageo Transaction). This situation caused uncertainty in the ongoing commitment process since the assets to be held by Mey İçki, the future buyer and, consequently, the market conditions were not yet finalised. During the evaluation process of the Diageo Transaction, two commitment documents were submitted to the Board in July 2011 as a result of the meetings held with the representatives of the two parties concerning certain competition problems the transaction might cause in the gin and liquor markets. Since these commitments were found to be insufficient to eliminate any potential competition problems, the transaction was taken under final examination. A new commitment document (the transfer of Mey İçki brands Maestro and Hare) was submitted by the party in August 2011 at the start of the final examination process. In a Board meeting of 17 August 2011, the commitments submitted in relation to the transaction under examination were accepted together with certain additional obligations and the transaction was authorised with decision No. 11-45/1043-356.

In the decision of the Board dated 17 November 2011 No. 11-57/1473-539, the acquisition of AFM Uluslararası Film Prodüksiyon Ticaret ve Sanayi AŞ (AFM International Movie Production) by Mars Sinema Turizm ve Sportif Tesisler İşletmeciliği AŞ (Mars Movie) was authorised on the condition of a transfer of some of the movie theatres in some specific geographic locations by Mars Movie. In Yıldız Holding/Dosu Maya, the acquisition of Dosu Maya, which sells yeast used in pastry, by Yıldız Holding, which owns another yeast company (Öz Maya), was allowed on several behavioural and structural remedies including divestiture of the distributor of Öz Maya and price maintenance.

In Anadolu Endüstri Holding/Migros (decision date 9 July 2015, No. 15-29/420-117), the acquisition of Migros, a nationwide supermarket chain, by Anadolu Endüstri Holding, which is the owner of the dominant firm (Efes) in beer market, was allowed on the condition that:

Migros will not discriminate against Efes’s incumbent and future competitors in the beer market;

  • this condition will be monitored by an independent trustee;
  • no one working for the Migros in an operational position will hold another position in Anadolu Endüstri Holding in order to mitigate the coordination risk and Anadolu Endüstri Holding; and
  • Anadolu Endüstri Holding should never allow Efes to reach its competitors’ important sales data obtained by Migros’s customer relationship management service.

In Migros/Tesco Kipa, the acquisition of the 95.495 per cent of shares of Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret Lojistik ve Gıda San AŞ (Tesco Kipa) from Tesco Overseas Investments Limited by Migros Ticaret AŞ by Migros Ticaret AŞ (Migros) was granted conditional clearance by relying on behavioural and structural remedies following a Phase I investigation. The behavioural remedies were the same as the previous Anadolu Endüstri Holding/Migros decision for which the acquirer party was the same. The structural remedies, on the other hand, focused on horizontal concerns and obliged the acquirer to divesture some stores in areas where the acquisition would create or strengthen dominance (decision dated 9 February 2017, No. 17-06/56-22). In Valeo/FTE, the acquisition of all shares of FTE Group Holding GmbH (FTE) by Valeo Holding GmbH (Valeo) received conditional clearance following a Phase I investigation. Valeo committed to divest its passive hydraulic actuator business line (for which the transaction would create or strengthen dominance of Valeo in some submarkets) including its facility in Gemlik, Bursa (decision dated 26 October 2017, No. 17-35/560-244).

In 2018, four concentrations were cleared with remedies. In Dosu/Lesaffre, the acquisition of full control of Dosu Maya by Lesaffre cleared with remedies aimed at ensuring that distributors act independently of manufacturers (decision dated 31 May 2018, No. 18-17/316-156). In Monsanto/Bayer, the Board decided that Bayer can acquire Monsanto under the condition that remedies accepted by the EU Commission do also cover parties’ activities in Turkey (decision dated 8 May 2018, No. 18-14/261-126). In Luxottica/Essilor, the merger between Luxottica and Essilor was cleared with structural and behavioural remedies (decision dated 1 November 2018, No. 18-36/585-286). Parties committed to divest Merve Optik. They also pledged not to adopt tying practices or contractual or factual exclusivity agreements with the distributors. Finally, acquisition of Mardaş by Arkas was cleared by the Board with remedies. Arkas committed that Marport and Mardaş will completely be divested in operational terms and legal terms and Mardaş will not share commercially sensitive Information with Marport.

In 2019, two transactions were cleared upon remedies. In L3 Technologies/Harris Cooperation case (decision dated 20 June 2010, No. 19-22/327-145) parties pledged to a structural remedy which will eliminate vertical concentration. The acquisition of Whirlpool’s Embarco business by Nidec (decision dated 18.04.2020, No. 19-16/231-103) was cleared upon remedies that were also accepted by the European Commission.

Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings?

Yes. The above-mentioned Anadolu Endüstri Holding/Migros and Yıldız Holding/Dosu Maya, UN Ro-Ro/Ulusoy decisions were taken following a Phase II investigation. Furthermore, the decisions APM/Grup Maritim (the acquisition of all shares of Grup Maritim TCB, SL by APM Terminals BV; decision date  11 May 2016, No. 16-16/267-118); Anheuser-Busch/SABMiller (the acquisition of sole control of SABMiller plc by Anheuser-Busch InBev; decision dated 1 June 2016, No. 16-19/311-140) were cleared without condition following a Phase II investigation.

It should be noted that for mergers blocked or cleared with a commitment or condition, the relevant decision is usually taken after the Phase II investigation.

Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence?

In a case finalised in July 2006, the TCA examined the seized coal market. As a result of the preliminary inquiry, which decided that a sharp increase in domes- tic retail prices resulted from the systematic increases in the prices of imported coal, an investigation was initiated in 2004. Although two of the undertakings that were subject to investigation had no contact points in Turkey (that is, no head office or branches), their activities affected the markets within Turkish boundaries. According to the ‘effects doctrine’, they were considered under the scope of the Competition Law. However, efficient use of powers concerning the request of information or on-the-spot inspections was not possible as the contact points of these undertakings were situated abroad. The investigation was finalised on 25 July 2006 by the Board (Seized Coal, 25 July 2006, No. 06-55/712-202) more than two years after the launch of the investigation. The decision was reached only with respect to those undertakings located in Turkey. Although one of the undertakings without a contact point in Turkey was found to have violated the competition rules, the Board could not impose a fine as the procedure envisaged in the Competition Law could not be completed properly against this undertaking.

In 2011, it was found that Güneş Ekspress Havacılık AŞ and Condor Flugdienst GmbH had agreed to fix prices in the geographic market of flight routes between Germany and Turkey, affecting consumers resident in both countries. However, as both parties made applications within the context of the Leniency Regulation, a full immunity was granted to Güneş Ekspress Havacılık AŞ for being first to apply, while Condor Flugdienst GmbH enjoyed a reduction in fines imposed.

In 2015, Schenker & Co AG, Schenker AE, Schenker Arkas Nakliyat ve Ticaret AŞ, Fertrans AG, Kühne+Nagel International AG & Co, Kühne + Nagel AE, Rail Cargo Logistics – Austria GmbH and Express Interfracht Hellas AE ve Raab-Oedenburg-Ebenfurter Eisenbahn AG were investigated as to whether they had colluded in Balkan Train and Soptrain routes, even though their headquarters were located outside Turkey. Their agreement was found to have no effect in the Turkish markets and because of this, it was decided that their agreements were not covered by the scope of the Turkish Competition Act No. 4054 (16 December 2015, No. 15-44/740-267).

Do you operate a leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact?

Before the amendment to the Competition Law in January 2008, the reduction of, rather than complete immunity from, fines was possible. Following the amendment, undertakings or associations of undertakings or their executives and employees that actively cooperate with the TCA to uncover the violation of the Competition Law may be held immune from the substantive fine envisaged for the undertaking or association of undertakings and the fine for executives or employees, or be granted reductions of these fines, taking into account the nature, effectiveness and timing of the cooperation. Consequently, the Board, for the first time, granted the relevant undertaking immunity from fines in a decision taken in March 2008 for its active cooperation (Sinyalizasyon, 27 March 2008, No. 08-26/283-91). To date, there have been 16 leniency applications.

Moreover, according to the amendment, the Board is to decide by regulations the factors considered in the determination of the administrative fines, conditions for immunity or reduction in the case of cooperation, as well as procedures and principles of cooperation. Based on the amendment, the Board adopted a Leniency Regulation in February of 2009. A unit was assigned by the Board for the implementation of this Regulation and this was announced on the website of the TCA. The potential applicants may contact the unit.

Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it?

There is no criminal enforcement track in the current system.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

As explained below, Act on Protection of Competition No. 4054 was amended on 16.06.2020 and amendments entered into force on 24.06.2020.

When did the last review of the law occur?

On 16 June 2020, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TGNA) passed the bill amending the Act on the Protection of Competition No. 4054. Amendment entered into force following the signature of the President and publication in the Official Gazette on 24.06.2020. Significant revisions Introduced by the amendments are summarised below:

  • Commitment and settlement procedures  introduced.
  • Amendments enable the Board not to open an investigation regarding agreements which do not significantly restrict competition. In other words, de Minimis rule has been introduced.
  • The test applies to concentrations has been changed to “significant lessening of effective competition” (SIEC) test. It was used to be “dominance test”.
  • Besides changes mentioned above, new article 9 gives the Board the power to impose structural remedies in addition to behavioural remedies. Behavioural and structural remedies must be proportionate to the infringement and necessary to bring the infringement effectively to an end. Structural remedies shall only apply where previous behavioural remedies imposed have been unsuccessful.
  • Amendment to article 15 regarding the power to conduct on-the-spot inspections now mentions electronic form of data explicitly when describing what type of information, documents or data are subject to inspection power.

While the amendments are designed to improve the effectiveness of the TCA, they will also help Turkey to better align its antitrust legislation with the European Union.

Do you have a separate economics team? If so please give details.

The TCA has a separate department for economic analysis and research. The Department of Economic Analysis and Research consists of five economist.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

Yes. Article 15 of Act No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition gives us power to conduct on-the-spot inspections. This power is frequently used, especially in cases relating to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance.

Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company?

There have been two cases where penalties were imposed on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company. The first concerns poultry producers (25 November 2009, No. 09-57/1393-362); the second concerns sodium producers (3 May 2012, No. 12-24/711-199).

What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?

The threshold for the pre-notification of merger is:

  • the total turnover of the transaction parties in Turkey exceeds 100 million lira and the turnovers of at least two of the transaction parties in Turkey each exceed 30 million lira; or
  • the asset or activity subject to acquisition in acquisition transactions, and at least one of the parties of the transaction in merger transactions, have a turnover in Turkey exceeding 30 million lira and the other party of the transactions has a global turnover exceeding 500 million lira.

Are there any restrictions on minority investments?

No.

What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?

The conditions for immunity, according to the fourth article of the Leniency Regulation (the Regulation) adopted in February 2009, is as follows:

  • the first undertaking to submit information and evidence that meets the requirements laid down in article 6 of the Regulation, independently from its competitors, before the Board decides to carry out a preliminary inquiry, shall be granted immunity from fines:
  • the implementation of this paragraph depends on the fact that an application pursuant to article 7(1) of this Regulation has not been made;
  • the first undertaking to submit information and evidence that meets the conditions laid down in article 6 of the Regulation, independently from its competitors, as of the decision by the Board to carry out preliminary inquiry until the notification of the investigation report, shall be granted immunity from fines on condition that the TCA does not have, at the time of the submission, sufficient evidence to find the violation of article 4 of the Act:
  • the implementation of this paragraph depends on the fact that an application pursuant to article 4(1) and article 7 of the Regulation has not been made; and
  • managers and employees of the undertaking covered by the scope of this article shall also be granted immunity from fines.

The conditions for reduction in fines, according to article 5 of the Regulation, is as follows:

  • undertakings that submit information and evidence and meet the conditions stated in article 6 of the Regulation independently from its competitors, after the decision of the board to initiate a preliminary inquiry and before the notification of the investigation report, but which are not covered by the provision related to immunity from fines in article 4, shall benefit from reduction of fines;
  • managers and employees of undertakings admitting the cartel and making an active cooperation shall benefit from reduction of a fine as well;
  • the fine to be imposed to the first undertaking shall be reduced by a third to by a half;
  • the fines to be imposed to the undertaking’s managers and employees who admit the cartel and make an active cooperation may be reduced at least by one-third or may not be imposed at all;
  • the fine to be imposed to the second undertaking shall be reduced by one-quarter to by one-third – the fines to be imposed to the undertaking’s managers and employees who admit the cartel and make an active cooperation may be reduced at least by one-quarter or may not be imposed at all; and
  • the fines to be imposed to other undertakings shall be reduced by one-sixth to by one-quarter:
  • the fines to be imposed to the undertaking’s managers and employees who admit the cartel and make an active cooperation may be reduced at least by one-sixth or may not be imposed at all.

In case it becomes necessary, as a result of the evidence submitted, that the amount of fine shall be increased because of reasons such as extension of the duration of the violation, the increase shall not affect the first undertaking to submit the evidence concerned and its managers and employees who admit the cartel and make an active cooperation.

For more information, please visit: www.rekabet.gov.tr/Dosya/regulations/1-pdf.

Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?

No.


Turkey: from the enforcer's competition economists

Questions and Answers

How many economists do you employ?

As of 1 July 2019, the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) employs a total of 164 non-administrative staff working on competition enforcement. They are currently in charge of handling cases, carrying out investigations, preparing reports and drafting reasoned decisions for the Competition Board, the decision-making body of the TCA.

Of these case handlers, 37 have a background in economics and 14 hold a master’s degree in economics, including universities located in Turkey and abroad.

We have five economists in our Economic Analysis and Research Department, one of whom have a master’s degrees in economics.

Do you have a separate economics unit?

Yes, the TCA has a separate department for economic analysis and research.

Do you have a chief economist?

The TCA does have a chief economist who is Head of Economic Analysis and Research Department.

To whom the chief economist report?

The Head of Economic Analysis and Research Department reports to the designated Vice President.

Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?

No.

How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?

Currently, none of the economists in the Department of Economic Analysis and Research have a PhD in industrial economics.

Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?

According to Act No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition, case teams can only be composed of staff with the professional and legal status of ‘competition expert’. As such, there is no possibility of including a specialist economist on every case team unless he or she is a competition expert. Case teams involve several competition experts from different backgrounds and there is no obligation in the legislation to include an economist in each case.

However, case teams can ask for theoretical and quantitative support from the Department of Economic Analysis and Research if they need in-depth economic analysis. The TCA is still building its capacity to employ more economic analysis in its investigations and decisions.

Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not? To whom does the chief economist report?

The economics unit’s function is different to the one mentioned above: the unit performs necessary market searches and quantitative analysis whenever deemed beneficial or necessary upon request from the enforcing departments in charge of on-the-spot inspections and investigations.

How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?

There is no obstacle to outsourcing economics work. However, very limited economics work is outsourced and these are mostly works related to data collection. Other than that, the analysis based on the data collected is done by competition experts in the enforcing departments or by the staff of the Economics Analysis and Research Department.

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