Antitrust investigation & fines in tourism sector – in response to the judgement of the Turkish court
Recently the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) completed investigation into and fined 4 companies with economic activities in the tourism sector. The investigation was initiated in response to the judgement of the administrative court of Turkey, which annulled the TCA’s decision adopted earlier regarding rejection of a third party complaint against the 4 companies.
The case is worthy of attention due to the fact that the TCA first denied the complainant’s claim and request to launch the antitrust investigation against the 4 companies; and later on, only when the complainant got support from the court, the TCA eventually conducted the investigation in the course of which the allegations were confirmed and perpetrators were faced with administrative fines.
- In 2013 (“IATI”) complained to the TCA regarding behavior of 4 companies operating in the tourism market, which restricted commercial activities of the IATI, namely: Antalya Pegas Otelcilik Turizm İnşaat Taşımacılık ve Ticaret Ltd. Şti., Odeon Turizm İşletmeciliği A.Ş., Alkan Grup Turizm İşletmeleri A.Ş. and V Turizm Seyahat Acentalığı Taşımacılık İnş. Tic. A.Ş (“4 companies“).
- The TCA rejected the IATI’s complaint with its decision No 13-49/701-299 dated 29.09.2013 (“TCA’s decision“).
- IATI appealed TCA’s decision to the administrative court of Turkey. The latter in its judgement No E: 2014/236, K: 2014/1415 dated 10.11.2014 concluded that (i) the undertakings concerned should refrain from participating in agreements and concerted practices which distort competition in breach of the Turkish Competition Law; and that (ii) otherwise respective antitrust investigations against the companies would be launched by the TCA. The court annulled the TCA’s decision on rejection of IATI’s complaint.
Following the judgement of the administrative court of Turkey, the TCA initiated antitrust investigation against the mentioned 4 companies in relation to allegations of exclusion of their competitors by means of concerted actions. On 21.11.2016 the TCA completed the investigation and decided to fine the companies for the breach of Article 4 of the Turkish Competition Law (equivalent of Article 101 of Treaty on Functioning of the EU).
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