The Turkish Competition Authority announced last week that it will join other competition law enforcement agencies in looking into the e-commerce sector. The Authority announced that it has launched an investigation into Booking.com, particularly the "best price guarantee" clauses of Booking.com's contracts. The investigation was launched following a preliminary investigation resulting from a complaint that Booking.com's practices violate Article 4 (restrictive agreements) and Article 6 (abuse of dominance) of Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition.
The Competition Board has – unless extended – up to six months to conclude the investigation in which three written defenses will be submitted and one oral hearing will be held (if requested). Booking.com is expected to submit its first written defense in 30 days.
Competition law enforcement agencies across the world have become increasingly skeptical about competition law implications of certain practices in the e-commerce sector. Accordingly, a general trend exists across a range of jurisdictions to closely scrutinize e-commerce market behavior. Recently, French, Italian and Swedish competition authorities announced that they have accepted the commitments offered by Booking.com and closed their investigations into Booking.com's practices (further information).
The Competition Authority is responsible for enforcing competition rules in Turkey. It is an independent regulatory authority with administrative and financial autonomy. The Competition Board is the decision making body within the Authority. You can read the full text of the Competition Authority's recentannouncement at this link. Please see this link for more information about the Turkish Competition Authority.
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