The Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) has not consistently followed the EU competition law precedents on the concept of concerted practices. The Board’s decisions in the past decade, however, illustrate an increased alignment with the European perspective. Below are some notable decisions of the Board, which underlie its practice of relying on the “presumption of concerted practice”.
- In Insurance companies (17-23/383-166; 19.07.2017), the Board initiated thirty-two insurance companies which provide compulsory traffic insurance. The investigation was launched following allegations that the defendants shared markets, increased prices excessively and in parallel to each other. The Board after having conducted a detailed market investigation, found that defendants parallel behavior in premium levels are a result of the traffic insurance services market. Moreover the Board stated that there are no evidence of a violation and thus, the Board without invoking the presumption of concerted practices” mechanism decided not to impose an administrative monetary fines on the investigated companies.
- In Aegean Concrete Producers (16-02/44-14; 14.01.2016), the Board investigated six cement producers active in the Aegean region. The investigation was launched following allegations that the defendants shared markets, increased prices excessively and in parallel to each other. There was no hardcore or irrefutable evidence of a violation but the Board found the timing of the price increases and the exchange of some information sufficient to use the “presumption of concerted practice”. The Board imposed administrative monetary fines on the investigated companies. The decision was appealed to the 10th Administrative Court of Ankara, which annulled the administrative monetary fine due to the lack of evidence proving a violation of law by the relevant undertakings.
- In Bread Yeast III (12.11.2008; 08-63/1050-409), parallel price increases observed in the bread yeast market were investigated for the third time. The first two times the charges were dismissed, yet the third time the Board levied monetary fines on the investigated companies. The Board, without conducting a detailed market investigation or having concrete evidence at hand, invoked the “presumption of concerted practices” mechanism. It established a concerted practice relying solely on the demonstration of parallel behavior in an oligopoly market, though it admitted that the nature of oligopoly itself could indicate non-collusive parallel behavior. This is a very exceptional case where the Board reached the conclusion that the parties engaged in a concerted practice without any proof of contact. The decision rested only on parallel behavior, without any supporting evidence. The decision represents the only case where Board relied only on a common sense conclusion that the parties must be violating competition law to maintain such parallel market behaviors, though the parallelism was proven only for a short period of time (eight months).