Recently, the spread of COVID-19 has been classified as a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization. With the global contagion of the epidemic, rumors have appeared regarding the development of new medicines and vaccines in Turkey, as everywhere else, and this situation has caused much misleading news and information to be published by the media and on the Internet.
The coronavirus pandemic has produced material effects on economy and triggered a global economic crisis leading to major changes in commercial activities. Significant part of the world population has largely changed their spending habits that almost stopped the functioning of multiple industries while demand for several others such as health equipment, food products and cleaning materials upsurged. Towering demand for these products caught companies unprepared and led to a supply crisis.
Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) revoked the individual exemption granted in 2016 to BKM Express, the joint digital wallet service of 13 leading banks, operated by The Interbank Card Center (BKM). TCA also mandated the termination of this activity in 60 days after declaration of reasoned decision. This is a landmark antitrust intervention of Turkish antitrust watchdog, addressing the rising competition concerns in the newly emerging fintech markets in order to ensure a competitive market structure and pave the way for innovative fintech startups to enter the market and operate effectively.
Commitment is a procedural innovation and a way of settlement in competition law where undertakings under investigation, propose a set of behaviors (or structural remedies) addressing the competition concerns raised by antitrust authority. In return, the authority terminates the ongoing investigation in early stages and makes the proposed commitments binding on the undertaking, provided that the commitments are satisfactory in resolving the competition concerns in that specific case. Undertakings are not forced to acknowledge the violation and the undergoing probe is closed with no fine within this mechanism. Both parties, the Authority and the undertakings gain significant procedural efficiency in total.
The way people communicate is constantly under transformation following technological advances. Business communication is not away from this trend as cutting edge-technologies provide instant communication tools that brings efficiency and convenience in daily communication of employees. Not surprisingly, legal authorities in general and antitrust authorities in particular, are also keeping tabs on this transformation in order to preserve the efficiency of their investigative practices and evidence search during handling their cases.
“The Turkish Government acted well and used the experience of other countries to fight the battle with COVID-19,” says Ersin Nazali, Managing Partner of Nazali Tax & Legal in Istanbul. “The situation was well prepared-for, which ultimately led to a lower number of infected people. Soon, we expect to get back to normal life.”
The economic and social impacts of the new coronavirus ("COVID 19"), which emerged in Wuhan-China in December/2019, occur at an unprecedented level comparing to crises experienced before. Within this scope, as a precaution for prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey, the time limits in legal proceedings are suspended until April 30, 2020. The General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (“TBMM”) enacted this measure through the Amendments to Certain Laws (“Law No. 7226“) on March 25, 2020. Also on April 30, 2020 the President of the Turkish Republic issued the “The Degree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent the Loss of Legal Rights” (“Decree”) and under the Decree, the suspension of time limits in legal proceedings has been extended again from April 30, 2020 to June 15, 2020.
In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Commerce has taken some measures on how companies should organize their board meetings. Within the scope of these measures, the ordinary general meetings of joint stock and limited companies, which were previously invited to the meeting in accordance with the Turkish Commercial Code numbered 6102 (“TCC”) and the company agreement, were cancelled with a decision to be taken by the governing bodies, without waiting for the general meeting to be held.
“Politics are nowadays mostly behind the scenes, and there aren’t a lot of recent highlights about typical topics of tension,” says Dogan Eymirlioglu, Partner at the Balcioglu Selcuk Ardiyok Keki Attorney Partnership in Istanbul. “The entire focus is now on how to tackle the impact of the pandemic and deriving lock-down.”
The economic impacts of the new coronavirus ("COVID-19") occur at an unprecedented level comparing to the crises experienced before. For many industries, both the supply chain has been interrupted and customer demand has shrunk at the same time. Restructurings and changes in transfer pricing policies will be inevitable for the continuity of businesses and activities since COVID 19 crisis has caused an unforeseen global risk realization which could not be predicted at the time when the intra-group contractual relationships were established and the group operation model was designed. Although the existence of conditions that require the need for policy changes is often considered as negative, it can also be turned into an opportunity by the multinational enterprises.
The new coronavirus (“COVID-19”), which emerged in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019 and spread around the world in a short time with the contribution of interdependence between countries, continues to have significant effects in many areas of life. One of these areas is international tax law, and potential disputes should be expected in the near future regarding taxation rights, which are demarcated by Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaties (“DTT”).