The Decision of the Ankara 3rd Administrative Court Clarifying That Competition Board May

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It has been clarified that Competition Board (“Board”) may request information and documents from undertakings whose headquarters are located abroad by notifying their affiliates in Turkey with Ankara 3rd Administrative Court’s decision numbered 2020/1303 E., 2021/477 K. and dated 04.03.2021.

The Board requested some information and documents from the relevant undertakings’ affiliates abroad within the scope of one of its preliminary investigations with respect to certain activities of banks and financial institutions operating in Turkey and their representative offices regarding deposit, credit, foreign exchange, bonds, bills, stocks and intermediary services. Five undertakings, including ING Bank A.Ş. (“ING”), did not provide the relevant information to the Competition Authority (“Authority”) on the grounds that (i) submission of the requested data could lead to a violation within the scope of the GDPR, (ii) the requested information was beyond the Authority’s power, (iii) the requested data was not in their possession and (iv) the notification should have been made to the parent undertakings.

The Board rejected these claims and decided to impose an administrative fine to the undertakings that did not provide the requested data and information and also requested the relevant information to be submitted to the Authority (“Board’s Decision”).

ING filed an annulment lawsuit before the administrative courts against the Board’s Decision. Ankara 3rd Administrative Court, rejecting the case, decided that Board’s Decision was lawful.

In this context, Ankara 3rd Administrative Court evaluated that

  • The existence of an entity such as a branch or sales office is deemed sufficient to be qualified as an undertaking and that the information and document request can be directed to this addressee,
  • As per Article 2 of the Law No. 4054, any undertaking operating in or affecting the goods and service markets within the borders of the Republic of Turkey shall be considered within the scope of the law.

In the light of the relevant evaluations, it has been clarified that the Board may request information from undertakings with headquarters abroad by notifying their affiliates in Turkey.

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