A Turkish court has ruled against the popular travel website over alleged unfair competition. The company has since stopped offering local services in the country, but said it would appeal the ruling.
"In complying with the injunction right now, there is no need to switch off our website for Turkish customers completely," Booking.com said in a statement.
Now, when using the website from Turkey, there are no options listed for bookings inside the country. From abroad, it is still possible to use the service for options inside Turkey.
The action was in response to a suit by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), which claimed its members were being negatively affected.
On Wednesday, a Turkish commercial court ruled the website's business of marketing Turkish destinations to customers in Turkey violated competition rules and disadvantaged local travel agents. The court demanded Booking.com halt the practice.
"The decision has been taken to halt the unfair competition activities of booking.com," Tursab said in a statement on its website.
Booking.com, which was founded in the Netherlands and is now owned by the US-based Priceline Group, 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, and said it would continue to offer services to foreigners outside the country who planned to visit Turkey. Turkish customers can continue to use the platform when traveling abroad.
bea/uhe/jd (dpa, Reuters)