It is thrilling to be guest editor of this issue of Network Industries Quarterly-Turkey, which deals with one of the most prominent regulatory challenges of our age: The digital economy.
Digitalization is omnipresent in contemporary economies. It is a driver of growth, prosperity, convenience, and productivity. However, as with virtually every other development with the potential to shift paradigms, it has brought about several difficulties and dilemmas, which are not easily reconcilable with the prevailing understanding of regulation, competition, and policy.
As elaborated by a number of high-profile governmental and expert reports, digital industries may warrant the introduction of specific regulatory regimes addressing the particularities of problems they raise. In order to support these discussions, as well as to contribute with an underpinning framework for the burgeoning initiatives in Turkey in this field, this issue presents four articles addressing the problems displayed by digital businesses and proposing potential solutions.
First, Muzaffer Eroğlu endeavors to set the stage by comparing a number of proposals drawn up around the world to regulate significant e-commerce marketplaces with those applicable to traditional network industries, such as telecoms and energy. His findings regarding mainly the purposes and the rationale behind such initiatives reveal that the difference may not be so pronounced after all.
Building upon the purposes of such regulatory initiatives, Barış Yüksel presents a detailed analysis of the latest decision-making practice of the Turkish Competition Authority. Adopting a critical approach, he highlights how competition enforcers already de facto regulate digital markets via competition enforcement tools and submits arguments as to why that may not be the best of ideas.
Subsequently, Cihan Doğan embarks on an exploration of how that enforcement, and ultimately the regulation, may be carried out in a specific and highly specialized industry such as mobile application stores. Building upon various studies by the OECD and the UK’s CMA, he develops a brief framework against which potential market abuses may be conceptualized. He analyzes the recent enforcement initiatives in other countries, such as in the US and the EU, against app store owners from a Turkish perspective to formulate recommendations for an eventual regulatory reform.
Lastly, Bülent Gökdemir concludes this issue of NIQ-Turkey with a broader perspective on the potential problems raised by large technology companies, mainly social media platforms. By utilizing a comparative methodology, he summarizes the legislative history of content moderation in Turkey, comparing it to the German Network Enforcement Act and submitting findings on to what extent the two legislative instruments display similarities. He argues that the Turkish framework presents a much stricter approach.
Partner and Head of Competition Law, Public Policy and Regulation in Baseak