On 20 April 2021, the Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) announced on its official website that an investigation into 32 undertakings in relation the labor market had been initiated by the Turkish Competition Board (“the Board”) on 15 April 2021 (see here available in Turkish). Companies being investigated include prominent players in the technology, e-commerce, and media entertainment industries, such as Google, Yemek Sepeti, and NTV.
With regard to the competition concerns behind the Board’s decision to investigate, the announcement states that undertakings competing for the labor force in the labor market (i.e., employers in labor markets) can prevent their employees from being hired by competitors through direct or indirect “gentlemen's agreements” concluded with their competitors. As a result, employees cannot benefit from job opportunities offering better salaries and conditions. Moreover, the restricted mobility of the labor force, combined with employees’ inability to attain the actual value of their work, impair the competitive structure of the labor market. The Authority points out that that this behavior causes the labor force to turn towards other markets or abroad where they are able to attain the actual value of their labor.
To eliminate those competition concerns, the Authority emphasizes the importance of competition law enforcement that aims to ensure the mobility of the labor force among competitors. In this manner, employees will be prevented from working for salaries below competitive levels, and the mobility of ideas and talent among competitors will contribute to improved standings for undertakings in global competition.
Finally, the announcement underlines the Authority’s aim to maintain the competitive market structure of the labor market, emphasizing employees’ contribution to the supply of goods and services in the digital age where creativity and innovation stand out.
The 32 companies that the Board has initiated investigation against are as follows: Yemek Sepeti Elektronik İletişim Perakende Gıda Lojistik A.Ş., Zomato İnternet Hizmetleri Ticaret A.Ş., Commencis Teknoloji A.Ş., Markafoni Elektronik Pazarlama ve Ticaret A.Ş., Limango Dış Ticaret ve Sanal Mağazacılık Hizmetleri Ltd. Şti., Mynet Medya Yayıncılık Uluslararası Elektronik Bilgilendirme ve Haberleşme Hizmetleri A.Ş., Grupanya İnternet Hizmetleri İletişim Organizasyon Tanıtım ve Pazarlama A.Ş., 41 29 Medya İnternet Eğitimi ve Danışmanlık Reklam Sanayi Dış Ticaret A.Ş., Havas Worldwide İstanbul İletişim Hizm. A.Ş., Noktacom Medya İnternet Hizmetleri San. ve Tic. A.Ş., Meal Box Yemek ve Teknoloji A.Ş., NTV Radyo ve Televizyon Yayıncılığı A.Ş., Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti., Sahibinden Bilgi Teknolojileri Paz. ve Tic. A.Ş., Peak Oyun Yazılım ve Pazarlama A.Ş., Veripark Yazılım A.Ş., Koçsistem Bilgi ve İletişim Hizm. A.Ş., Zeplin Yazılım Sistemleri ve Bilgi Teknolojileri A.Ş., DSM Grup Danışmanlık İletişim ve Satış Ticaret A.Ş., Etiya Bilgi Teknolojileri Yazılım Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., Logo Yazılım Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., Çiçek Sepeti İnternet Hizmetleri A.Ş., Doğuş Planet Elektronik Ticaret ve Bilişim Hizmetleri A.Ş., Valensas Teknoloji Hizmetleri A.Ş., Mobven Teknoloji A.Ş., Pizza Restaurantları A.Ş., Mawarıd Gıda Ticaret A.Ş., Anadolu Restoran İşletmeleri Ltd. Şti., TAB Gıda Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., İş Gıda A.Ş., Migros Ticaret A.Ş. and Getir Perakende Lojistik A.Ş.