Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has stated that Turkish officials are in talks with booking.com to act in compliance with the law in Turkey in order to be fully operational again.
“I had a meeting; now our friends are meeting,” Zeybekci told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We are the solution authority, we have to deal with [the situation] in such a way that their expectations are met and laws are not broken,” he said.
An Istanbul court on March 29 ordered the suspension of the activities of booking.com in Turkey, citing accusations of unfair competition, following a lawsuit filed by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB). The website, which had around 13,000 hotel members from Turkey, halted selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users on March 30, one day after the court decided to block the website in the country. The website can still be used from foreign countries to make reservations for Turkish hotels.
Zeybekci said Turkey “is right in the cases against booking.com or similar online businesses based abroad but gaining money from Turkey, without giving back any.”
When asked about booking.com’s demands to have operations in Turkey, Zeybekci said the talks were in progress.
The booking.com BV companies also paid an administrative pecuniary penalty of around 2.5 million Turkish Liras in January to a competition authority due to their previous activities that breached competition rules, as part of a previous application from TÜRSAB.