Turkey can convince Booking.com to expand into country: Minister

Turkey can convince Booking.com to expand into country: Minister

Hacer Boyacıoğlu - DENİZLİ
Turkey can convince Booking.com to expand into country: Minister

AFP photo

The Turkish government can convince Booking.com to expand into the country through constructive meetings, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said in the wake of a court decision to ban the online travel portal’s operations to Turkish users within the country.  

An Istanbul court on March 29 ordered the suspension of the activities of Booking.com in Turkey, citing accusations of unfair competition by a leading tourism association in Turkey. The website on March 30 began to halt selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users, one day after the court’s decision to block the website in the country.

Zeybekci told journalists that the court decision was “proper” in technical terms, adding that “it was, however, questionable that each proper decision brings for the better.”

Saying that it is a must for the sake of the sector and Turkey to build direct contact with the website, he added that “We need to win this company on our conditions.” 

He said Booking.com should open a branch and pay taxes in Turkey. 

“For our part, we should ease their concerns. We believe we can convince them. Even we can convince them to carry some other operations into Turkey,” Zeybekci said in the Aegean province of Denizli. 

Grain crisis with Russia

In response to a question regarding a grain crisis with Russia, Zeybekci reiterated that the decision was taken upon requests from businesspeople and Turkey did not impose any ban on grain imports from Russia. 

“We have not imposed any ban. This is the key point,” he said, adding that Turkey invited Russian officials to discuss the issue. “We will discuss all bans,” he said.  

Turkish officials have repeatedly told their Russian counterparts to accelerate the process of removing the ban on Turkish products.

Two different views on inflation rate in cabinet

When asked about the rising inflation rate, caused mainly due to a continuing increase in food prices, Zeybekci said there were two different views about the inflation rate and that both were strong. 

Turkey has continuously been hit by the fluctuating food prices, as the share of food prices in the inflation basket is still high despite a recent slight decrease, according to the minister. 

“We will be making a mistake if we see inflation as the result of over-demand. The problem is undersupply here; I mean the inability to produce more. When interest rates are hiked, production levels decrease. In this line, there are two opposing views regarding this issue in the cabinet. Both of them are strong; one of them requires rate hikes, while the other requires rate cuts,” he added.