The huge online tourism portal, Booking.com has announced that they are to open an office in Turkey.
This comes due to new legislation in Turkey that aims to ensure that the personal data from their citizens is protected. Under the new laws, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will have to have at least one employee in the country purely for the purpose of blocking and removing harmful content.
Internet regulations in Turkey
The new internet rules appear to have had a huge impact on developing ways to police the activity by platforms such as Booking. The huge internet travel company has several offices in the Middle East and North African region, as well as various offices over Europe, but no office currently in Turkey.
At this time there is a court decision that has been made in Turkey to restrict the activities carried out by Booking due to unfair competition. However, by opening a Turkish office they expect this decision to be overruled.
Booking is Amsterdam-based and has spent a lot of time in talks with the trade and finance ministries in Turkey. From these talks, it has been announced that Booking will be opening their first Turkish office as well as agreeing to pay 7.5% of their turnover from Turkish businesses in taxes.
Restrictions to be dismissed
The small hotels in Turkey that have relied on Booking will be delighted with the news that restrictions previously included should vanish by Booking opening an office in Turkey.
A Turkish court ruled in 2019 that Booking had been guilty of engaging in unfair competitive practices. Since March 2017, following a lawsuit brought by TURSAB, the Turkish Travel Agencies Association, the activities of Booking were restricted in Turkey as a “precautionary measure.” The restrictions currently make it impossible in Turkey to make a reservation on Booking, even though the website does allow Turkish people to make international bookings.
New Social Bill
The new bill in Turkey offers solid definition and provides the representatives that each party needs to adhere to, as well as how investigations and legal proceedings will be followed if violations are made on any platforms. To operate in Turkey, all foreign based social network providers that hit over one million visitors a day must now have at least one representative, and this must be a Turkish national. The contact information for this person must be included in a prominent and easy to access way on the website.
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