The Turkish Competition Authority (the “Competition Authority”) may launch a preliminary investigation (i) ex officio or (ii) upon complaint.
In the preliminary investigation process, the case handlers assigned by the Competition Authority are entitled to request information and conduct dawn raids (unannounced on-the-spot inspections). The case handlers submit the preliminary report, which includes (i) all information and evidence obtained during their preliminary investigation and (ii) their opinion on the matter/issue, to the Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”). They are required to finalize and submit their report within 30 calendar days after the Board appoints them. Upon review of the report, the Board may decide (i) not to launch a full-fledged investigation or (ii) to launch a full-fledged investigation.
If the Board decides to initiate a full-fledged investigation, it sends a notice to the companies concerned within 15 calendar days. Once the notice has been formally served, the investigated companies have 30 calendar days to prepare and submit their first written defenses.
Subsequently, the Competition Authority issues the full-fledged investigation report, which consolidates the findings and evidence collected through on the spot inspections, information requests and written defenses. Preparation of the investigation report lasts six months and it may be extended one time only. Once this is served on the companies concerned, they have 30 calendar days to respond, extendable for another 30 days (second written defense).
The investigation committee will then have 15 calendar days to prepare an additional opinion concerning the second written defense. The defending parties will have another 30-day period to reply to the additional opinion (third written defense).
When this defense is submitted to the Competition Authority, the investigation process will be completed (i.e. the written phase of investigation involving the claim/defense exchange will close with the submission of the third written defense). An oral hearing may be held upon request by the parties or ex officio.
Oral hearings are held 30 to 60 calendar days following the completion of the investigation process under Communiqué No. 2010/2 on Oral Hearings before the Board. The Board renders its final decision within 15 calendar days from the hearing, if an oral hearing is held; otherwise, the decision is rendered 30 calendar days from the completion of the investigation process.
As part of an investigation, the Board is entitled to request the submission of any information and documents it deems necessary. The parties can submit any information or evidence they think may affect the decision at any time during the investigation.