Contrary to published reports, Booking.com's dispute with a local hotel association, which involves a license requirement among other issues, did not prompt a Turkish court to shut down the site's operations in Turkey. The court order does order Booking.com to stop selling hotels in Turkey to domestic customers, and Booking.com says it is "blinding" those properties.
A Turkish court has ordered the travel website Booking.com to be blocked in a dispute with the country’s main travel agency association, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Wednesday.
The Anadolu Agency reported that a commercial court in Istanbul ordered the move against Booking.com as a “precautionary measure” while the case is ongoing.
Lawyers for the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies had argued that Netherlands-based Booking.com was engaging in unfair competition in the marketing of hotels in Turkey.
Anadolu said that government authorities are expected to block access to the website as soon as they receive official notification from the court.
In a written statement, Booking.com said it disagreed with the ruling and would appeal.
“We disagree with the injunction and are in the process of filing an appeal. However, Booking.com always abides by local law. In complying with the injunction right now, there is no need to switch off our website for Turkish customers completely. This means that Turkish customers can continue to use our service when travelling abroad, and Booking.com will continue to make Turkish accommodations available to international travelers traveling to Turkey.
As an e-commerce company and technology provider, we firmly believe that we are contributing to healthy competition in the marketplace by providing Turkish consumers with a transparent and convenient platform to compare and book accommodation all over the world. We also drive valuable incremental business for more than 13,000 Turkish accommodation providers of all kinds throughout the country who partner with us and choose to list their properties on our platform. We have strong confidence in a positive outcome and hope that our Turkish customers will soon be able to enjoy our service for their domestic travel.”
It added that Booking.com also helps 13,000 Turkish businesses offer accommodation to consumers.
Associated Press writer Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, contributed.
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Photo credit: Booking.com has been blocked by a court from marketing Turkish hotels to Turkey residents in a completion suit involving the local hotel association. Istanbulite.com