Turkey: The Mastervolt Decision: The Board's Attempt At Deviating From The European Competition Law Rules Is Rejected By The Court Of First Instance

The Ankara 7th Administrative Court ("Court") annulled the Board's decision1 in the investigation initiated against Mastervolt International Holding BV ("Mastervolt") and Artı Marin Elektrik Dış Ticaret Ltd. Şti. ("Artı Marin"), on the grounds that these undertakings had violated Article 4 of the Law No. 4054 through their agreements and conduct ("Judgement")2. The Judgement is highly noteworthy in the context of Turkish competition law, as the Court blocked the Board's attempt at conducting an effects-based analysis with respect to a prohibition of parallel trade that would have been in conflict with the relevant EU precedents.

The Board's investigation against Mastervolt and Artı Marin was aimed at determining whether these companies had violated Article 4 of the Law No. 4054 by restricting Eltesan Mobil Teknoloji Sistemleri San. ve Tic. A.Ş.'s ("Eltesan") sales of Mastervolt products in Turkey through parallel trade activities. The Board's investigation was initiated upon Eltesan's complaint.

Mastervolt is a Netherlands-based company, which manufactures energy solutions that are utilized in marine vehicles and platforms, solar energy fields and land vehicles. Artı Marin is the exclusive distributor of Mastervolt products in Turkey, and Eltesan is the exclusive distributor of Waeco products in Turkey.

In its investigation, the Board had chosen to leave the relevant product market definition open, since it determined that the relevant product market definition would not have any effect upon the Board's evaluation of the case, pursuant to Paragraph 20 of the Guidelines on the Definition of the Relevant Market.

In its substantive assessment of the case, the Board found that Artı Marin was the exclusive authorized distributor of Mastervolt and Eltesan was the authorized distributor of Waeco (which is a competitor of Mastervolt) in the market for mobile power equipment, such as energy invertors, convertors, and batteries. Moreover, the Board determined that, from the beginning of 2009, Eltesan had sold Mastervolt products in Turkey by engaging in parallel trade activities, in which Mastervolt products had been supplied to Eltesan by Mastervolt's authorized reseller in Austria (thus enabling Eltesan to challenge Artı Marin's exclusivity in Turkey by offering Mastervolt products at lower prices than Artı Marin). In this regard, the documents submitted by Eltesan revealed that Mastervolt products had been sold in Turkey since 2009, whereas the restrictive actions of the investigated parties (both jointly and separately) had occurred from 2010 to 2015.

In its decision, the Board cited the Consten and Grundig3 ruling of the European Court of Justice ("ECJ"), and held that the EU practice classifies the agreements restricting parallel trade as anticompetitive without further conducting any effects-based analysis, and that EU practice considers any behavior of this type to constitute a violation of the competition law rules.

Consequently, even though the Board clearly stated in its decision that, according to the EU precedents, the agreement between Mastervolt and Artı Marin on the restriction of parallel trade (which was concluded through e-mail messages) might be sufficient to find that the relevant parties' actions had breached competition law rules, the Board went on to say that, due to the structural differences between the EU and Turkey (such as the fact that the EU common market consists of different national markets, whereas the Turkish market is a single national market), the restriction of parallel trade in Turkey might lead to different outcomes than in the EU. Therefore, the Board emphasized that these structural differences might require case- specific assessments and might necessitate an effects-based analysis to determine whether there had been an actual competition law violation in Turkey in this case.

As a result of its assessment, the Board found that there was an agreement between Mastervolt and Artı Marin to restrict the sales of Mastervolt products in Turkey through other dealers (namely, Eltesan) by engaging in attempts to (i) discredit Eltesan's presence in the Turkish market, and (ii) prevent Mastervolt's non-Turkish distributors from supplying Eltesan with Mastervolt products. However, the Board held that Eltesan's sales of Mastervolt products had not decreased significantly throughout the period subject to investigation, and also found that Eltesan's turnover generated from the sales of the relevant products was not substantial. Therefore, the Board concluded in its assessment that the efforts of the investigated parties had not been clearly systematic and successful.

In light of the above, the Board decided that the information at hand was not sufficient to indicate the existence of a restrictive agreement between the investigated parties.

Eltesan subsequently filed an annulment lawsuit before the Court with respect to the Board's decision, on the grounds that the Board's assessment of the evidence in the case file had been flawed, and that the evidence was actually sufficient to prove a competition law violation.

In its assessment of the case, the Court first recalled the main principles and prerequisites for demonstrating the existence of a restriction of competition through agreements and concerted practices within the meaning of Article 4 of the Law No. 4054. The Court also underlined that the mere existence of a restrictive agreement or concerted practice between undertakings within the meaning of Article 4 of the Law No. 4054 would suffice for determining a competition law violation, and that there was no need to demonstrate that the restrictive practices in question had had 'successful' effects in the market in order to establish such a violation within the scope of Article 4. The Court held that, in the case at hand, even though it could be ascertained from the documents submitted by the defendant that the plaintiff's sales had not declined between 2011 and 2015, thus indicating that there had been no systematic and successful restriction of competition, the evaluation of the documents obtained during the investigation and those submitted by the plaintiff clearly revealed that the defendants had intended to restrict competition in the market. Therefore, the Court concluded that the evidence in this case demonstrated the existence of a violation within the meaning of Article 4 of the Law No. 4054.

Based on the foregoing considerations, the Court ruled that the Board's contested decision did not comply with the relevant laws and decided on its annulment.


1. The Board's decision dated May 11,2016 and numbered 16-16/278-122.

2. The Ankara 7th Administrative Court's judgement dated November 28,2018, with file number 2017/251 E 2018/2104 K.

3. Joined Cases 56 and 58-64, Établissements Consten S.à.R.L. and Grundig-Verkaufs-GmbH v Commission of the European Economic Community, ECR1966/299 [1966],

This article was first published in Legal Insights Quarterly by ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law in March 2019. A link to the full Legal Insight Quarterly may be found here

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”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq AdviceCentre
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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