(Dec. 8, 2020) On November 13, 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (CA) announced in a press release that it had fined Google 196.7 million Turkish lira (about US$25.74 million) for breaching competition law rules. The CA was conducting an investigation into allegations that Google had abused its dominance in the general search services market through its Adwords service. The CA concluded that Google had complicated other undertakings’ activities in the content services market by displaying text advertisements on the top side of the general search results in a manner that is intensive and not clearly labeled as being advertisements, which resulted in the crowding out of organic search results that did not create revenue for Google. The CA has not yet published the reasoned decision, but Google will have the right to appeal in administrative courts once the reasoned decision is served.
In the last five years, Google has been the subject of various investigations conducted by the CA. Google and its subsidiaries were fined 93.08 million lira (about $11.89 million) in September 2018 for its conduct in the licensable smart mobile operating systems market, where the CA found that Google mobile application distribution agreements that required device manufacturers to exclusively preinstall Google Search in the devices and set it as the default search service in all search access points constituted a breach of competition laws. This investigation and final decision partly paralleled the European Commission’s Google Android decision in 2018, in which the Commission had fined Google 4.34 billion euros (about $5.19 billion).
Another investigation that concluded on February 2020 found that Google had abused its dominant position in the general search services market and the online comparison shopping market by complicating the activities of competitors that provided online comparison shopping services. The CA fined Google 98.35 million lira (about $12.56 million). This decision also followed the European Commission’s Google Shopping decision in 2017, in which the Commission fined Google 2.42 billion euros (about $2.9 billion) for breaching EU competition law by, inter alia, positioning and displaying its own comparison shopping results more favorably than its competitors’ results in the general search results page.