Comparative Advertising under Turkish Law

Comparative advertising under Turkish Law has been allowed for many years. However, the definition of comparative advertising has been introduced into Turkish law for the first time as “advertisements used for the promotion of goods or services, in which elements concerning goods or services of a competitor are directly or indirectly used,” by the Regulation on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices (‘’Advertising Regulation’’), which entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette numbered and dated January 10, 2015.

Comparative advertising is mainly subject to regulatory rules applicable to all kinds of advertisements, and it is specifically very important that comparative advertisements should not be misleading, should not give rise to unfair competition, the compared goods or services should be of the same nature, and should meet the same requests and needs.

On the other hand, explicit comparative advertising, meaning explicit comparison using the name, trademark, logo or other distinct shapes or expressions, as well as commercial and trade names of rivals, is not allowed.

In 2015, the new Advertising Regulation, which was enacted based upon Consumer Protection Law numbered 6520, allowed explicit comparative advertising, ruling that the name, trademark, logo or other distinctive signs or expressions, commercial and trade name of rivals can legally be used. However, the enforcement date of this provision was preliminarily postponed for one year after the enforcement date of the Advertising Regulation, and then it was postponed to January 1, 2019. This provision was totally abolished on December 28, 2018 and, therefore, explicit comparative advertising is not legally applicable under Turkish law, and it is considered as unlawful advertising acts under the current legislation.

Currently, under Turkish law, comparative advertisements where rivals’ names, trademarks, and distinctive signs are not referred to. In addition, as a specific rule, comparative advertising for food supplements is prohibited. In food advertising, comparisons of elements that are considered to be within the scope of health claims are prohibited from being compared.

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