In June 2020 Law 7246 Amending the Law on the Protection of Competition entered into force and introduced significant changes to Turkish competition law, including with regard to the commitment mechanism. The mechanism aims to address anti-competitive effects in a timely and effective manner and save time and red-tape costs incurred by both the Turkish Competition Authority and undertakings subject to investigation.
The Constitutional Court has once again considered the rights of personal data protection and the freedom of communication in an employment context following an employer's inspection of an employee's corporate email account and the termination of the employee based on the outcome of such inspection. The decision draws attention to the importance of the explicit information requirement in inspections conducted by employers and sheds light on the application of the principle of proportionality.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly has promulgated the Act on the Prevention of the Financing of Propagation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which foresees material amendments to the Commercial Code's provisions regarding bearer share certificates. Although these amendments cause transactional friction and restrict shareowners from engaging in unannounced share transfers, money laundering and the financing of terrorism pose a greater threat than these inconveniences.
Pursuant to three presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination ban and unilateral unpaid leave, which were due to expire by 17 January 2021, have been extended until 17 March 2021. Further, the short-time working allowance granted to workplaces which had applied until 31 December 2020 has been extended until 28 February 2021. Similarly, the application deadline for the short-time working allowance has been extended until 31 January 2021.
At the beginning of each year, the minimum wage, severance payments and administrative fines prescribed by the Labour Act are revised. On 1 January 2021 the changes for 2021 came into effect. Among other changes, the monthly minimum wage rate has increased from TL2,943 (gross) to TL3,577.50 (gross).
Government bodies have introduced progressive measures and restrictions to minimise the COVID-19 pandemic's negative impact on employment and sustain employment relationships. One of the most significant arrangements in this respect is the termination prohibition. However, mutual termination agreements have become a point of contention in light of this prohibition as they are unregulated under Turkish law.
Whether employers can review employees' corporate email accounts and rely on any findings collected during such an inspection in a potential termination is a controversial issue in terms of personal data protection and privacy. The Constitutional Court has rendered two recent decisions on the right to privacy and privacy of communication with regard to corporate email accounts. Both decisions elaborate in particular on employees' information rights.
Law 7251 on the Amendment of the Civil Procedure Code and Certain Laws (Amendment Law) recently entered into force. One of the significant amendments introduced by the Amendment Law concerns Article 281 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) 6100, which regulates parties' objections to expert reports. With this amendment, parties can now request an extension from the court to file their objections against expert reports under certain circumstances.
In 2018 the Competition Board imposed administrative fines amounting to TL143 million on three retail electricity sales companies (RESCs) and one electricity distribution company for abusing their dominant positions in various markets. In three separate decisions regarding the appeal of the fines, the Ankara 13th Administrative Court rejected all of the claims raised by the RESCs and upheld the board's decision. The decisions may have significant consequences with respect to anti-competitive effects.
Pursuant to two presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination prohibition and unilateral unpaid leave, which were to expire by 17 November 2020, have been extended until 17 January 2021. Further, the short-time working allowance granted due to COVID-19 has been extended until 31 December 2020.
The debate over determining a legal framework for the enforcement of standard essential patents (SEPs) has been one of the hot IP topics of 2020. Turkey started discussing the licensing of SEPs following a decision by the Competition Authority at the end of 2019, in which the authority referred for the first time to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms regarding patented technology.
Law 7251 recently entered into force, allowing the courts to conduct remote hearings through video and audio transmission either upon the parties' request or ex officio under certain circumstances. Although remote hearings are not new to Turkish law, allowing more space for such practices is significant given the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this practice is available only in certain courts and more widespread use may create capacity problems for the existing judiciary infrastructure.
When the new Code of Civil Procedure was enacted, it enabled plaintiffs to file actions for unquantified amounts of receivables, the determination of which is left to the courts. The General Assembly of the Civil Chambers of the Court of Cassation General Assembly recently ruled that if an action for an unquantified amount of receivables is initiated despite the amount being determinable, the courts should not immediately reject the case but should instead proceed with the trial by deeming the action a partial action.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision following a preliminary investigation based on allegations that two companies had violated Article 4 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition by determining dealers' resale prices, fixing discount rates and limiting the payment methods of their dealers.
Shortly after the publication of Law 7252 in the Official Gazette, several presidential decrees were published, extending the termination prohibition, unilateral unpaid leave and the short-time working allowance. Following these developments, employers are prohibited from terminating employment contracts until 17 November 2020 and can impose unpaid leave without employee consent until 17 November 2020.
Pursuant to two presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination prohibition and unilateral unpaid leave, which were to expire by 17 July 2020, have been extended until 17 August 2020. Further, the short-time working allowance granted due to COVID-19 has been extended for one month.
Although customs recordals are one of the most efficient ways to combat counterfeiting activities in Turkey, if goods are smuggled and suspended by customs officers or the police ex officio under the Anti-smuggling Law, IP rights holders cannot act against any suspected counterfeiting activities. However, sales of counterfeit goods may be prevented if IP rights holders are aware of the suspended goods before the directorate general of liquidation and report any suspected infringements expeditiously.
After rounds of revisions and failed enactment attempts over a span of several years, the proposal for amendments to Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition has finally been approved by Parliament. According to the proposal's recital, the amendments to Law 4054 aim to embody the Turkish Competition Authority's 20-plus years' enforcement experience and bring Turkish competition law closer to EU competition law.
Letters of guarantee are an instrument under which a bank guarantees the payment of a certain amount to a beneficiary on request if an obligation undertaken by the applicant against such beneficiary is unfulfilled. In practice, a debtor's creditors are often willing to directly levy an attachment on a letter of guarantee. This article outlines letters of guarantee in the Turkish banking sector.
Bill 2/2735, which has been presented to the president of the Grand National Assembly, proposes that actions filed directly before the consumer courts be subject to mandatory mediation before proceeding to court adjudication. This article examines Turkey's success with regard to the fair and swift resolution of consumer disputes and explores how the bill can add to this success.