Answer ... See questions 1.3 and 6.2.
Answer ... As stated in question 2.4, both individuals and companies may violate competition law if they act as an undertaking within the meaning of Law 4054. Thus, if individuals engage in business activities as an undertaking and injure someone by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws, a lawsuit for treble damages can be brought against them.
Answer ... Turkish procedural law does not allow for class actions or procedures. Class certification requests are granted by the Turkish courts. While Article 73 of Law 6502 on the Protection of Consumers allows for class actions by consumer organisations, these are limited to violations of Law 6502 on the Protection of Consumers and do not extend to antitrust infringements. Similarly, Article 58 of the Turkish Commercial Code enables trade associations to bring class actions against unfair competition behaviour, but this has no reasonable relevance to private suits under Articles 57 and following of Law 4054.
Turkish procedural law allows for group actions under Article 113 of the Turkish Procedure Law 6100. Associations and other legal entities may initiate a group action to “protect the interest of their members”, “to determine their members’ rights”, and “to remove the illegal situation or prevent any future breach”. However, group actions do not cover actions for damages. A group action can be brought before the court as a single lawsuit only. The verdict shall encompass all individuals within the group.
Answer ... The case must be brought before the competent general civil court. As a general rule, plaintiffs or defendants can appeal decisions of the general civil courts before the regional courts of civil chambers within two weeks of the reasoned general civil court’s decision. Parties to the lawsuit can also appeal the decision of regional courts of civil chambers within two weeks of the reasoned appealable decision before the High Court of Appeal.
Answer ... As stated in question 6.2, Articles 57 and following of Law 4054 entitle any person that is injured in its business or property by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws to sue the violators for three times the damages plus litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. In practice, courts usually do not analyse whether there has been a condemnable agreement or concerted practice, and instead wait for the Competition Board to render its opinion on the matter, therefore treating the issue as a prejudicial question. Since courts usually wait for the board to render its decision, a court decision can be obtained within a shorter timeframe in follow-on actions.
Claims for damages arising from competition law are ultimately subject to the general tort rules - that is, the Turkish Code of Obligations. Accordingly, in order for a private tort claim to be accepted by the court, the following four conditions must be cumulatively met:
- existence of an illegal act;
- damage; and
- causal link.
In Competition Authority proceedings, the purpose or intent to restrict competition is considered adequate to prove infringement of Law 4054. In civil actions, however, the plaintiff must demonstrate all elements of wrongful act, fault, damage and casual link.
As private action arising from competition law violations is a relatively new concept in Turkish competition law, there are as yet no publicly available court decisions which have exhausted all appeal stages.
Answer ... Yes; see question 8.4.