Turkey is a Candidate Country.
The Ankara Association Agreement of 1963 provided for the progressive establishment of a Customs Union, which was ultimately set up in 1995 through Decision 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council (hereinafter Decision 1/95).
Accession negotiations with Turkey started in 2005, but until Turkey agrees to apply the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Association Agreement to Cyprus, eight negotiation chapters (among which competition and State aid) will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed.
In the field of competition (antitrust and mergers) and State aid, relations between Turkey and the EU are primarily governed by Decision 1/95. In particular, Chapter IV of Decision 1/95 lays down an ambitious set of rules on competition and State aid that mirror the EU acquis. These rules essentially aim to create a level playing field among economic operators active within the Customs Union.
- As regards competition, Turkey must adopt and ensure that legislation is made compatible with that of the EU and that is applied effectively. It also must adopt a Competition Law, which prohibits the behaviour of undertakings under the conditions laid down in Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, as well as establish a competition authority vested with the sufficient powers for an effective enforcement of the competition law. Turkey must also inform the EU on the adoption of competition legislation.
- As regards State aid, Turkey must also approximate its State aid legislation to the Union State aid acquis and establish an inventory of State aid schemes. Turkey must also establish a State aid authority entrusted with sufficient powers and resources to apply State aid rules effectively. Turkey has committed to notify to the EU on individual aid measures as well as to inform the EU on legislative proposals relating to State aid.
Turkey has failed to comply to a large extent with the State aid obligations laid down in Decision 1/95. Turkey has not adopted implementing legislation and an inventory of state aid schemes, which would allow for an approximation to the EU State aid acquis. In addition, it has not adopted a State aid authority entrusted with sufficient powers and resources to apply State aid rules effectively. Finally, Turkey neither notifies the EU on individual aid measures nor does it inform the EU on legislative proposals relating to State aid.
Conversely, Turkey has fulfilled most of the obligations relating to antitrust and mergers, having adopted a Competition Law and established a competition authority vested with powers and resources to effectively implement antitrust and mergers, albeit certain differences with the EU acquis in antitrust and mergers.
There are also obligations that need to be fulfilled by the Union. Under Decision 1/95, the Union must inform Turkey on the adoption, abolition and modification of new legislation in the field of competition and State aid and inform Turkey on cases (State aid decisions and decisions on restrictive practices). The Union has committed to consult Turkish experts on the same basis as the Member States when legislation is being drawn up and to inform Turkey when transmitting a legislative proposal the Council.