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Travel

Turkish court blocks Booking.com website

A court has ordered the blocking of travel website Booking.com over alleged unfair competition its hotel and flight reservations platform may pose to local firms. The online travel aggregator plans to appeal order.

"The decision has been taken to halt the unfair competition activities of Booking.com. in a case brought by Tursab,"  the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, Tursab said in a statement on its website.

Tursab said Turkey's competition authority had fined the Dutch-based internet operator, founded in 1996 and a subsidiary of Priceline Group since 2005, 2.5 million Turkish pounds (some $700,000).

The Hurriyet daily quoted Tursab secretary general Cetin Gurcun as saying anybody who had already made reservations on the site would not be penalised.

In a written statement, Booking.com said it disagreed with the ruling and would appeal. "As an e-commerce and technology company, we are convinced that we contribute to healthy competition in the market by offering Turkish consumers a transparent and easy platform to compare and book accommodation all over the world," the company said. It added that Booking.com also helps 13,000 Turkish businesses offer accommodation to consumers.

is/ks (afp, dpa)