As a general proposition competition law consists of rules that are intended to protect the process of competition in order to maximize consumer welfare. Competition law has grown at a phenomenal rate in recent years in response to the enormous changes in political thinking and economic behavior that have taken place around the world. There are now more than 120 systems of competition law in the world. Competition laws will be found in all continents and in all types of economies – large, small, continental, island, advanced, developing, industrial, trading, agricultural and liberal. Apart from its geographical growth, competition law is now applied to many economic activities that once were regarded as natural monopolies or the preserve of the state: telecommunications, energy, transport, broadcasting and postal services, to name a few obvious examples, have become the subject of competition law scrutiny. Other sectors, such as the liberal professions, sport and the media, are also within the scope of the subject.
A central concern of competition policy is that a firm or firms with market power are able, in various ways, to harm consumer welfare, for example by reducing output, raising prices, degrading the quality of products on the market, suppressing innovation and depriving consumer of choice. These concerns cannot be expressed in a codified table of rules capable of precise application in the way, for example, that laws on taxation or the relationship of landlord and tenant can. The analysis of competition issues invariably requires an assessment of market power, and such an assessment cannot be conducted without an understanding of the economic concepts involved. The same is true of the types of behavior – for example cartelization, predatory pricing, discrimination, mergers – with which competition law is concerned.
Turkey is engaged in accession process to the European Union which is governed by Decision 1/1995 that established a Custom Union with the European Community in 1995. This Decision 1/1995 prohibits all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices between undertakings that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition, as well as abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position, as incompatible with the agreement as long as they may affect trade between the European Community and Turkey.
Furthermore, Decision 1/1995 requires a high degree of harmonization of the competition laws and policies of Turkey and the Community in order to achieve economic integration. This in mind, Turkey undertakes to ensure that competition legislation in Turkey operates effectively and in compliance with that of the Community. In 1994, Turkey adopted a law on the Protection of Competition. This law is to a great extent in conformity with European Community completion law, as it was drafted to make into account European Community competition law in order to avoid any potential problems that may arise from the implementation of the custom union. In Turkey, competition policy is enforced by the Turkish Competition Authority. Since its establishment, the Turkish Competition Authority has decided cases in a variety of key economic sectors, including energy, telecommunications, vehicle distribution, consumer finance and banking services.
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