Turkey: Google mounts defense at competition board

Alaturka Ekonomi Haberleri

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – Google on Wednesday mounted its verbal defense of a fine imposed by Turkish regulators.

Appearing before Turkey’s competition authority in the capital Ankara, the U.S. search engine giant argued against the 93 million Turkish lira ($15 million) fine. A decision is expected on Feb. 20.

In September 2018, Turkey’s competition board fined Google for violating competition law through Android, its mobile operating system, as well as mobile apps and services.

Last March, the board opened an investigation into claims that Google uses abusive tactics to quash its rivals.

In November, the board ruled that the changes Google made to its agreements with Android partners in Turkey based on the earlier ruling fell short, and so the company cannot continue to operate in Turkey under business as usual.

Google's investigative practices have been the subject of similar investigations in both the EU and Russia, the board underlined.

In 2018, the European Commission fined Google €4.34 billion ($4.84 billion) for breaching the EU’s antitrust rules on online advertising.

Google also pledged to Russia’s Competition Authority to stop the offending practices.

Last December, the tech giant said it is working with Turkish officials to resolve an issue involving preloaded Android apps for smart devices "as quickly as possible."

Aiming to “immediately” comply with the Turkish law, Google said: "To do this, we have informed our partners that we have stopped approving new Android device models for launch in Turkey."

Google added that the effect of the issue is limited to newly introduced phone models and does not affect existing ones.