Turkish Constitutional Court (“Constitutional Court”) examined the application of Ford Otomotiv Sanayi Anonim Şirketi (“Ford Otomotiv“) concerning the violation of the right to inviolability of residence, and determined that on-site inspection conducted at Ford Otomotiv facilities within the scope of the Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition (“Law“) violated the right to inviolability of residence as protected under Article 21 of the Turkish Constitution.
The Constitutional Court, in brief, ruled that:
- As per Article 21 of the Constitution, unless there exists a decision duly given by a court or a written order of an agency authorized by law in cases where delay is prejudicial, no domicile may be entered in or searched or the property seized therein. When Article 15 of the Law is examined, it is seen that on-site examinations by the competition experts are not conducted pursuant to a court order;
- On-site examination has been conducted at the headquarters, branches and facilities of Ford Otomotiv, which are not accessible by public, therefore, they are considered as “residential premises” pursuant to Article 21 of the Constitution;
- Although on-site inspection conducted at the business facilities which are considered as “residential premises” without a court order may be in compliance with Article 15 of the Law, such practice is in violation of the inviolability of residence protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, therefore, the interference with Ford Otomotiv’s right to inviolability of residence constitutes a violation of such right.
Furthermore, the Constitutional Court determined that, in order to prevent potential violations, copy of the decision should be sent to the Turkish Grand National Assembly in order to take required legislative actions on the relevant provision of the Law constituting the violation.
In conclusion, consequences of the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the authority of the Competition Authority to conduct on-site examination and the violation of the inviolability of residence as well as the approach of the Turkish Competition Authority for future on-site inspections will be a subject of debate in the following days.
This article has been authored by our Competition Law Counsel, Hande Alp.