Upon the announcement of the first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis in Turkey made by the Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca on 11 March 2020, the coronavirus panic has led citizens to stockpile and thus led some food retailers to increase their product prices.
The Turkish Competition Authority declared on March 23, 2020 that the exorbitant price increases were closely followed, and the heaviest fines determined by Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition would be imposed on individuals and institutions engaged in anti-competitive actions in the food production and retailing sector. However, the Competition Authority did not make any statement that a regulation would be amended in this respect.
In a press release by Birol Küle, President of the Turkish Competition Authority, on 25 March 2020, he addressed the individuals and the institutions that give rise to the abuse of the food market especially with regards to fresh fruit and vegetables. Pointing out that the announcement made on March 23, 2020 was not taken into consideration by some market players Birol Küle stated that "the penalties and processes will be proportional to the severity of the crisis".
Stating that the investigation regarding the price of fresh fruits and vegetables will be decided at the weekly Turkish Competition Board meeting to be held on March 26, 2020, Birol Küle also mentioned that the Board has the discretion regarding the penalty rate and can give it at the top rate.
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