Turkey: Competition Board's Recent Examinations In The Electricity Sector: Back To The Past

Last Updated: 8 May 2017
Article by Mert Karamustafaoglu

Most Read Contributor in Turkey, December 2017


By its recently initiated three investigations, Akdeniz Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş1 ("Akdeniz Elektrik"), Enerjisa2, and Gediz-Aydem3, the Competition Board signals that it will adopt a more active policy in the coming days in the electricity sector. The problems with regard to the dominant positions of electricity distribution companies due to their market power in their areas, and the adaptation difficulties with respect to the legal unbundling principles, are familiar problems in the electricity sector.4 However, in 2014, it was claimed that the distribution companies engaged in various practices to complicate the operations of independent providers and prevent the exercise of consumers' rights to choose their own providers.5 Moreover, although the Competition Board's Sector Inquiry in Electricity Wholesale and Retail Sale Markets ("Sector Inquiry") examined these claims in detail, the Competition Board decisions did not made any determinations as to breach.

The Competition Board's repetitive approach with regard to the pre-investigations of distribution companies was the most debated issue: This is because the Competition Board was not initiating investigations, but stating that the pre-investigation claims may be considered to be anti-competitive acts. This issue is the most debated issue in the aforementioned decisions. These decisions state that the distribution companies engaged in various practices to complicate the operations of independent providers, thereby preventing the exercise of consumers' rights to choose their own providers.

These anti-competitive acts may deeply affect the liberalization process in the electricity sector. The dissenting votes almost always addressed that the above-mentioned claims are very significant, which must be followed through investigations. Moreover, in the aforementioned decisions, the case handlers also requested investigations to be conducted, but the Competition Board refused these requests in turn. However, approximately two years afterward, the Competition Board has taken much the same claims more seriously, and has opened investigations. The change of action indicates the future attitude of the Competition Board.

The Previous Decisions in the Distribution Sector

The privatization process in the electricity distribution sector, which started with the privatization of TEDAŞ in 2005, is completed through the privatization of Dicle Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş.6 The above-mentioned decisions, and particularly the 2014 decisions, signal today's developments in many aspects.

The complaints with regard to the distributor's activities in the electricity sector frequently appeared before the Competition Board prior to 20147. However, the above-mentioned decisions indicate that these complaints were rejected by the Competition Board on the grounds that the specializations were recently completed, and the legal unbundling activities had recently begun. These decisions state that there is insufficient evidence to prove the allegations, and the preliminary examinations were sufficient to warn the distribution companies.

However, within the same year, the Competition Board opened new pre-investigations with regard to much the same undertakings, with similar allegations. In that period, the Competition Board's application of Article 9/3 of the Protection of the Competition Act numbered 4054 ("Competition Act"), instead of opening investigations, was highly criticized. According to Article 9/3 of the Competition Act, the Competition Board may send an opinion to the undertakings concerned regarding how to terminate the infringement. Accordingly, in the aforesaid decisions, the Competition Board decided to send a warning to the undertakings concerned intending to terminate the examinations against liberalization. Moreover, the Competition Board decided that the acquired information and documents should also be sent to the Energy Market Regulatory Board ("EMRA"), which was conducting a similar examination at that point.

This situation was complex at first glance. Firstly, the Competition Board had not qualified the claims as insignificant or insufficient. At the same time, it had not opened an investigation, nor had it made a more detailed examination. The Competition Board clearly stated that according to the obtained evidence, the activities of distributors cause problems in terms of liberating the electricity sector, meaning that these activities cause problems in terms of providing proper competition; however, it did send a written warning on this issue. In addition, it intended for the EMRA to examine this issue within the scope of sectoral regulations by sending it the obtained information and documents. In other words, the Competition Board preferred the EMRA to solve this issue, which may be considered to be a violation of competition, according to the regulation. In a sense, the Competition Board preferred to terminate the violation by way of sectoral regulation, instead of through the application of competition law.

Another interesting issue about the decisions in the aforesaid period is that the case handlers who had requested that an investigation be initiated concerning CLK and Enerjisa, despite the Competition Board's view, had also adopted the Competition Board's view in the subsequent Gediz-Aydem decision. Accordingly, the case handlers found sufficient it expedient to send a warning according to Article 9/3, instead of opening an investigation. On the one hand, the case handlers in the Gediz-Aydem decision found it unfair to request an investigation against the undertakings concerned, considering the resolution of the CLK and Enerjisa decisions.

Sector Inquiry and Future Signals

The Sector Inquiry was published in the year following the Competition Board's highly disputed distribution decisions. The expert group that wrote the Sector Inquiry are virtually identical to the case handlers in the above-mentioned decisions in the distribution market. On the other hand, the Sector Inquiry comprises more stable and accurate observations than the aforesaid decisions. The Sector Inquiry particularly states that the authorized supply companies, which are of the same economic integrity as the distribution companies, engage in various practices to complicate the operations of independent providers and prevent the exercise of consumers' right to choose their own providers8. The Sector Inquiry provides that the above-described action hinders the competition in the electricity sector. In this sense, the Sector Inquiry makes more specific determinations about the reasons for these problems, and also determines several "to do lists" for the future9. It highlights that more effort should be made as to legal unbundling, as it not at a desired level. Also, it states that it is important to inform consumers about alternative suppliers, as well as supplier changing opportunities. It is emphasized that for this purpose, the consumers should be informed particularly concerning the prices. Accordingly, several obstacles to consumers to change their suppliers should be abolished. The Sector Inquiry's most important message for future is that problems arising from insufficient legal unbundling between distribution companies and independent supplier companies, such as information exchange, are important obstacles with respect to liberalization. The Sector Inquiry expresses that the recommended manner through which to abolish these issues is efficient supervision and detailed regulations. In other words, the Sector Inquiry highlights the need for efficient supervision on this issue and, therefore, requests opening investigations on these actions.

Conclusion: Back to the Past

"Crazy Ivan maneuver" is a maneuver type that was used by Soviet submarines during the cold war era, in order to clear their baffles to ascertain whether or not they were being followed. These submarines were easily followed by minor American submarines, since their back fans were black spots, thereby rendering American submarines to be invisible. For this reason, according to this maneuver, submarines turn 180 degrees, instantly, to see if they are being followed by an enemy submarine that the black spot on the back of their submarines have rendered invisible.10 It is said that this maneuver builds great fear and is very efficient.

The Competition Board's investigations in the electricity distribution sector, which began in late 2016, and in the beginning of 2017, are actually a continuation of a process that began in the past. These decisions are almost identical to distribution decisions from 2014, including the companies within the scope of investigation and order. In this sense, the Competition Board has made a "Crazy Ivan Maneuver." However, this is not a surprise for those who follow the sector closely, and who read the Sector Inquiry, carefully. Indeed, the Board is doing the things that it stated before, and follows the route that it previously determined. These recently begun investigations will indicate how seriously these warnings have been taken by the electricity distribution sector since 2014. The following period will be a test of competition law in the electric distribution sector.


1. For the announcement dated 9.8.2016 of investigations concerning Akdeniz Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş., CLK Akdeniz Elektrik Perakende Satış A.Ş. ve Ak Den Enerji Dağıtım ve Perakende Satış Hizmetleri A.Ş., see; http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/tr-TR/Guncel/Akdeniz-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-CLK-Akdeniz-Elektrik-Perakende-Satis-AS-Ve-Ak-Den-Enerji-Dagitim-Ve-Perakende-Satis-Hizmetleri-AS-Hakkinda-Sorusturma-Acildi (Date of access: 06.03.2017).

2. For the announcement dated 27.1.2017 of investigations concerning distribution areas that are included in the Enerjisa Group, see; http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/tr-TR/Guncel/Enerjisa-Enerji-AS-Toroslar-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-Enerjisa-Toroslar-Elektrik-Perakende-Satis-AS-Baskent-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-Enerjisa-Baskent-Elektrik-Perakende-Satis-AS-Istanbul-Anadolu-Yakasi-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-ve-Enerjisa- (Date of access: 06.03.2017).

3. For the investigation concerning Bereket Enerji, see .http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/tr-TR/Guncel/ADM-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-Aydem-Elektrik-Perakende-Satis-AS-GDZ-Elektrik-Dagitim-AS-Gediz-Elektrik-Perakende-Satis-AS-Bereket-Enerji-Grubu-AS-Ve-GDZ-Enerji-Yatirimlari-AS-Hakkinda-Sorusturma-Acildi (Date of access:16.03.2017).

4. For more information, see the Research of the Competition Board in Electric Wholesale and Retail Sector (Sector Research), http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2f1%2fDocuments%2fSekt%C3%B6r+Raporu%2felektriksektor.pdf (Date of access: 06.03.2017)

5. For the decisions concerning this issue, see; AYEDAŞ Decision dated 22.10.2014, numbered 14-42/761-337, http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2f1%2fDocuments%2fGerek%C3%A7eli+Kurul+Karar%C4%B1%2f14-42-761-337.pdf (Date of access: 06.03.2017); CLK Decision dated 22.10.2014, numbered 14-42/762-338,http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2f1%2fDocuments%2fGerek%C3%A7eli+Kurul+Karar%C4%B1%2f14-42-762-338.pdf (Date of access: 06.03.2017) ; Gediz-Aydem Decision dated 03.12.2014, numbered 14-47/860-390, http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2f1%2fDocuments%2fGerek%C3%A7eli+Kurul+Karar%C4%B1%2f14-47-860-390.pdf (Date of access: 06.03.2017).

6. The Competition Board's decision dated 11.04.2013 and numbered 13-21/285-136 http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2f1%2fDocuments%2fGerek%C3%A7eli+Kurul+Karar%C4%B1%2f13-21-285-136.pdf (Date of access: 11.03.2017).

7. The Competition Board's decision of "Başkent Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş." dated 6.11.2013 and numbered 13-62/857-365; The decision of "Sakarya Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş" dated 6.11.2013 and numbered 13-62/856-364, The decision of "Boğaziçi& Akdeniz Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş." dated 29.1.2014 and numbered 14-05/83-36.

8. For more information, see p. 82 ff. of the sector research report.

9. p. 130-133.

10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Ivan (Date of access: 17.03.2017).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions