Abuse of dominanceDefinition of abuse of dominance
How is abuse of dominance defined and identified? What conduct is subject to a per se prohibition?
Law No. 4054 is silent on the definition of abuse. It only contains a non-exhaustive list of specific forms of abuse. Nevertheless, paragraph 22 of the Guidelines on Exclusionary Abuses articulates that ‘abuse’ may be defined as when a dominant undertaking takes advantage of its market power to engage in activities that are likely, directly or indirectly, to reduce consumer welfare. Moreover, article 2 of Law No. 4054 adopts an effects-based approach to identifying anticompetitive conduct, with the result that the determining factor in assessing whether a practice amounts to an abuse is the effect on the market, regardless of the type of conduct. In parallel, as per paragraph 24 of the Guidelines on Exclusionary Abuses: ‘In the assessment of exclusionary conduct, in addition to the specific conditions of the conduct under examination, its actual or potential effects on the market should be taken into consideration as well.’Exploitative and exclusionary practices
Does the concept of abuse cover both exploitative and exclusionary practices?
The concept of abuse covers both exploitative and exclusionary practices. It also covers discriminatory practices.Link between dominance and abuse
What link must be shown between dominance and abuse? May conduct by a dominant company also be abusive if it occurs on an adjacent market to the dominated market?
Theoretically, a causal link must be shown between dominance and abuse. However, the Board does not yet apply a stringent test of causality, and it has in the past inferred abuse from the same set of circumstantial evidence that was also employed in demonstrating the existence of dominance.
Article 6 also prohibits abusive conduct on a market different to the market subject to dominant position. Accordingly, the Board found incumbent undertakings to have infringed article 6 by engaging in abusive conduct in markets neighbouring the dominated market (see, for example, Volkan Metro (2 December 2013, 13-67/928-390), Türkiye Denizcilik İşletmeleri (24 June 2010, 10-45/801-264), Türk Telekom (2 October 2002, 02-60/755-305) and Turkcell (20 July 2001, 01-35/347-95)).Defences
What defences may be raised to allegations of abuse of dominance? When exclusionary intent is shown, are defences an option?
The chances of success of certain defences and what constitutes a defence depend heavily on the circumstances of each case. Paragraph 30 of the Guidelines on Exclusionary Abuses provides that the Board will also take into consideration any claims put forward by a dominant undertaking that its conduct is justified through ‘objective necessity’ or ‘efficiency’, or both. In this regard, it is possible to invoke efficiency gains, as long as it can be adequately demonstrated that the pro-competitive benefits outweigh the anticompetitive impact.
As for the question whether the defences are available when exclusionary intent is shown, objective justifications such as ‘objective necessity’ or ‘efficiency’, or both, can be utilised as a defence on that front. Moreover, as provided in response to question 10, as per paragraph 24 of the Guidelines on Exclusionary Abuses: ‘In the assessment of exclusionary conduct, in addition to the specific conditions of the conduct under examination, its actual or potential effects on the market should be taken into consideration as well.’ In this regard, in order to determine that an undertaking has carried out an abusive conduct, an actual (or potential) effect of the alleged conduct on the relevant market should be demonstrated.