News Corner: Turkish Competition Authority Fines Google $25.6M for Abusing Dominance in Online Search Market

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On 12th November, Rekabet Kurumu, the Turkish Competition Authority, announced its decision in the investigation against Google Advertising and Marketing Ltd., Google International LLC, Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited and Alphabet Inc. (“Google“) for abuse of dominance in the online search market. The Board unanimously ruled to impose an administrative fine of 196.7 million lira or 25.6 million USD on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for search services. 

It was held that Google’s intensive and uncertain placement of the text ads at the top of the general search results stands foul of Article 6 of the Turkish Competition Law No. 4054 as it leads to difficulty in operating in the content services market of organic results that do not produce advertising revenue. The Turkish competition watchdog further added that Google must, within six months from notification of the reasoned decision, undertake necessary measures to ensure effective competition in the market. The reasoned decision in the case, which is appealable in the Ankara Administrative Courts, is yet to be notified.

This move comes with the increased scrutiny of anti-competitive conduct of big tech companies across jurisdictions. However, this is not the first instance of imposition of fines on Google in Turkey for its abuse of dominance. Following the footsteps of the European Commission, earlier this year, the Turkish authorities imposed a 98 million lira fine on the tech giant for violating Article 6 of the Turkish Competition Law No. 4054 through abusive exclusionary conduct and distortion of competition in the general search services and online shopping comparison services markets. Similarly, in 2018, Google was fined 93 million lira for abuse of dominance in the licensable mobile operating systems market based on its agreements with mobile device manufacturers.

Reported by Priyanshi Rastogi, Student Ambassador

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