Court asks booking.com to make changes to lift ban
The 5th Commercial Court on Oct. 18 said if the conditions which created unfair competition are removed and the company makes a payment of 500,000 Turkish Liras (around $86,000) then the ban imposed on the company’s website could be lifted.
The court ruled that booking.com avoided paying taxes even though it operates like a travel agency and it did not seek permission to formally establish a company.
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 court ruling clearly decided that booking.com cannot do business in Turkey if it does not obtain the required permissions from the authorities,” said Firuz Bağlıkaya, TÜRSAB chair.
He noted that they had filed a lawsuit against the company, on the ground that booking.com operated like a travel agency but did not pay any taxes, thus violating the competition rules.
“The court accepted all our claims and ruled in favor of TÜRSAB. Following the court’s ruling, booking.com cannot conduct any business activities. The ball is in the Tourism Ministry’s court now.”
Based on the court’s ruling, TÜRSAB would take legal actions against all websites operating like booking.com, Bağlıkaya said.