Settlement Mechanism In Competition LawDeniz Tanlı
Pursuant to Law No. 7246, the amendments to Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition introduced the settlement mechanism to Turkish competition law. These same amendments stipulate that the procedures and principles regarding the settlement mechanism are to be determined by regulation issued by the Turkish Competition Board. The Regulation on the Settlement Procedure Applicable in Investigations on Agreements, Concerted Practices and Decisions Restricting Competition and Abuses of Dominant Position was prepared by the Turkish Competition Board regarding this duty and was entered into force upon being published in the Official Gazette on July 15, 2021 The enactment of this regulation
fulfilled the three points (i.e., de minimis, commitments, and settlement) as envisaged by the amendments. The aim of this article is to examine all aspects of the settlement mechanism, which is a new institution for Turkish competition law. In this context, the article’s first section provides general explanations about settlement in competition law and discusses the concept of hybrid settlement. The second explains in order all the phases of the settlement procedure as designed in the Settlement Regulation and draws attention to problems that may arise at first glance. While doing so, the article also mentions the differences between the Draft Settlement Regulation, which had been previously opened up to public opinion. This same section also examines settlement decisions that have been rendered by the Turkish Competition Board. The third section goes on to explain the established practices in the European Union competition law using statistical data and also comparatively examines the regulations regarding settlements. From this point of view, the article makes various assumptions regarding Turkish competition law. The fourth section discusses the relationship between the settling and non-settling parties, one of the most vital issues related to the settlement mechanism. The fifth section then evaluates the consequences of the settlement mechanism from the perspective of private law.
Rekabet Hukukunda Uzlaşma KurumuDeniz Tanlı
4054 sayılı Rekabetin Korunması Hakkında Kanun’a, 7246 sayılı Kanun ile getirilen yeniliklerden birisi de uzlaşma mekanizması olmuştur. Aynı değişiklikle birlikte, uzlaşmaya ilişkin usul ve esasların Rekabet Kurulu tarafından çıkarılacak yönetmelik ile belirleneceği hüküm altına alınmıştır. Rekabet Kurulu bu görevine ilişkin olarak hazırlamış olduğu “Rekabeti Sınırlayıcı Anlaşma, Uyumlu Eylem ve Kararlar ile Hâkim Durumun Kötüye Kullanılmasına Yönelik Soruşturmalarda Uygulanabilecek Uzlaşma Usulüne İlişkin Yönetmelik” 15.07.2021 tarihinde Resmî Gazete’de yayımlanarak yürürlüğe girmiştir . Söz konusu yönetmeliğin de yürürlüğe girmesiyle beraber kanun değişikliğiyle öngörülen üçleme (de minimis, taahhüt, uzlaşma) tamamlanmıştır. Bu makalenin amacı, Türk rekabet hukuku için yeni bir kurum olan uzlaşmayı tüm yönleriyle incelemektir. Bu kapsamda, makalenin ilk bölümünde, rekabet hukukunda uzlaşmayla ilgili genel nitelikte açıklamalar yapılmış ve hibrit uzlaşma müessesesi ele alınmıştır. İkinci bölümünde, Uzlaşma Yönetmeliği’nde tasarlanan uzlaşma sürecinin tüm safhaları sırasıyla anlatılmış, ilk bakışta meydana gelebilecek sorunlara dikkat çekilmiştir. Bu yapılırken, daha önce kamuoyu görüşüne açılan taslak yönetmelik ile arasındaki farklara da değinilmiştir. Yine aynı bölümde Rekabet Kurulu tarafından verilmiş olan uzlaşma kararları da incelenmiştir. Üçüncü bölümünde, Avrupa Birliği rekabet hukukundaki yerleşmiş uygulama istatistiki verilerle anlatılmış ve uzlaşmaya ilişkin düzenlemeler karşılaştırmalı olarak incelenmiştir. Buradan hareketle Türk rekabet hukukuna yönelik çeşitli çıkarımlar yapılmıştır. Dördüncü bölümünde, uzlaşma ile ilgili en önemli konulardan biri olan uzlaşan ve uzlaşmayan taraflar arasındaki ilişki ele alınmıştır. Beşinci bölümünde ise uzlaşmanın özel hukuk alanındaki sonuçlarına değinilmiştir.
Settlement procedures in competition law involve a method based on the principle of obtaining reduced fines and reaching an agreement regarding specific measures in return for accepting liability that they have committed the violation under investigation and giving up certain rights granted to them, thus allowing for the early termination of the investigation. The settlement mechanism was adopted in Turkish law through the amendments made to Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition through Law No. 7246 After these amendments, the Settlement Regulation entered into force by being published in the Official Gazette on July 15, 2021 in order to determine the procedures and principles of the settlement mechanism. Shortly after, the Turkish Competition Board and parties to the proceedings provided the first examples. The settlement mechanism is primarily related to the enforcement policy and has an expanding effect on the competencies of the Turkish Competition Board. Therefore, the mechanism deserves to be examined in detail. Based on this matter’s importance, the current article will discuss the settlement mechanism, which is a new institution in Turkish competition law. While doing so, the article will examine the Settlement Regulation comparatively with two other sets of regulations. The first is the Draft Settlement Regulation, which was opened to public opinion prior to the final version of the Settlement Regulation. The article will assess the change in provisions between the two regulations, as well as the legal consequences that may result. The second comparison occurs with the regulations in the European Union competition law, which were taken as a general example when creating the regulations in the Turkish competition law. Even though these regulations are broadly similar, they have some fundamental differences, and the article will reveal its findings and opinions in this regard. The article consists of five sections. The first heading under Section 1 will explain the meaning of settlement in competition law. The second heading will present the concept of hybrid settlements and the relevant main procedural and legal problems. The article will discuss in this context whether hybrid settlements violate the presumption of innocence of the non-settling parties in light of the decisions made in the European Union. Section 2 will explain how the settlement mechanism has been designed in Turkish law through all its phases. This same section will also discuss the constitutionality of the Settlement Regulation regarding closing the right to seek legal remedy as a result of the settlement. The article considers this provision to possibly contradict the principle of the rule of law in Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Türkiye (1982), as well as the right to legal remedies in Article 36 of the Constitution. Meanwhile, the article will also mention what changes occurred between the Draft
Settlement Regulation that had been opened to public opinion prior to the Settlement Regulation and the final version of the Settlement Regulation. This study finds that some important legal assumptions can be made from this assessment. For example, the article holds the opinion that the parties to the proceedings can be argued to be able to seek legal remedies in terms of the elements removed from the content of the settlement submission. Section 2 will additionally examine all the settlement decisions the Turkish Competition Board have given.
Section 3 will examine settlement procedure in the European Union, with the first heading under Section 3 discussing the purpose of introducing settlement procedure in the European Union and comparing this to the purpose in Turkish law. The second heading under Section 3 will analyze settlement practices in the European Union. In this context, the article will first assess whether settlement procedure is widely used in the European Union in light of statistical data. This same heading will also examine the cooperation procedure used for violations other than cartels in the European Union. The third heading under Section 3 will explain settlement procedure in the European Union through all its phases. While doing so, the article
will mention the differences the European Union’s settlement procedure have with Türkiye’s Settlement Regulation. One of the most important differences is seen to be that the European Union allows legal remedies to be sought against a given settlement decision. Therefore, this article will also examine examples where settlement decisions had been appealed in the European Union. Section 4 discusses the relationship between the settling and non-settling parties. In this context, it will examine whether a settlement violates the principle of equal
treatment for the non-settling parties by referring to precedents in the European Union. Section 5 finishes by evaluating the consequences of the settlement mechanism from the perspective of private law.