11 May 2020 - The Turkish Competition Authority ('TCA') has recently empowered its already existing Strategy Development Department for digital markets.

In an announcement on 8 May 2020, the TCA highlighted that increasing developments in recent weeks on the digital economy have produced both local and global impacts. In response, competition authorities have to monitor closely the effects of multi-sided platforms and algorithms on both markets and consumers. In its announcement the TCA also stated that the classic market approach is insufficient when considering the difficulty of identifying and specifying the scope of the effects of big data and algorithm-based competition violations. Although the Strategy Development Department will only assist the case units of the TCA and not directly handle cases itself, this reorganisation can be interpreted as the TCA now having a digital markets task force.

In line with this, the Strategy Development Department will be also responsible for:

  • Assisting case handlers with mergers and acquisitions, sector inquiries, investigations and preliminary investigations related to the digital economy;
  • Providing opinions for investigations relating to the digital economy;
  • Providing support for competition probes relating to the digital economy;
  • Conducting training personnel in relation to digital market-related matters;
  • Exchanging information and experiences with local and international institutions and other competition authorities by considering the global nature of the digital economy;
  • Raising awareness regarding impacts of the digital economy and algorithm usage on both markets and consumers and contributing to the development of public policies in this regard by communicating with the relevant ministries, institutions and organisations.

The digital economy has been one of the main areas where the TCA has concentrated its resources in recent years. This can also be observed from the four abuse-of-dominance investigations against Google (two concluded with monetary fines and two on-going) and the on-going sector inquiry initiated on February 2020, which we covered in our article. This new structure seems to be the first product of the digital markets sector inquiry, and we expect more to come.

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