How to Use Booking.com in Turkey
Having trouble accessing Booking.com in Turkey? It’s not very surprising – the feud between the online booking platform and the Turkish government has been going on for some time.
Don’t worry, though – we’ll show you how to use Booking.com in Turkey with extreme ease in this article.
“Why Can’t I Use Booking.com in Turkey?”
Well, it seems it might be because the government is forcing ISPs to block the website on their networks. Essentially, a firewall is preventing you from doing that (think in terms of the Great Firewall of China). This problem seems to have started back in 2017, somewhere around March.
Back in July 2018, though, things seemed to calm down a bit, with Booking.com expecting to start being active again in Turkey. However, despite those optimistic news, a day later it came to light that Booking.com will remain banned in Turkey. Not only that, but the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) also claimed it wants to extend the ban to other platforms like Airbnb, Skyscanner, and Expedia.
Still, it should be mentioned that – initially – the ban still allowed people outside Turkey to book hotels in the country through Booking.com. Also, people living in Turkey could use Booking.com to book hotels in other countries. The only thing you couldn’t do was book Turkish hotels through Booking.com if you were in Turkey.
Right now, things are a bit unclear since the last news about Booking.com not working in Turkey specified that the website won’t be able to conduct commercial activities in the country, and that the Turkish Informations and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) will be ordered to ban access to the platform across the country.
Judging by what we’ve seen, booking Turkish accommodations through Booking.com still works if you’re outside the country. But if you try using the platform inside Turkey, you might encounter issues – both if you’re a Turkish citizen or just a tourist trying to manage your accommodations through Booking.com during your vacation.
Why Is Booking.com Blocked in Turkey?
Apparently, there were some debates in the country regarding whether or not Booking.com would need to purchase a specific license to offer their services in Turkey. There’s also the fact that national travel agencies feel that Booking.com is unfair competition. In fact, the whole thing started when TÜRSAB filled a case against the platform, claiming just that.
There are also heated political issues between Turkey and the Netherlands (the country where Booking.com is based) that are likely making the situation worse – even though the whole Booking.com not working in Turkey thing predates that.
How to Unblock Booking.com in Turkey (2 Methods)
If you find you can’t access Booking.com when you’re in Turkey, you could try a quick workaround – accessing the website by its IP address instead of its domain name. So, instead of “booking.com,” you’d type in the platform’s IP address – which you can easily find by running your operating system’s Command Prompt, and typing “ping booking.com.”
Of course, that solution won’t work if the Turkish government has told ISPs to block Booking.com by website domain name and IP address. In that case, you’d have to find a way to bypass the firewalls used by ISPs in the country.
Luckily, doing that isn’t very difficult. In fact, you’ve got two options at your disposal:
1. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Basically, it’s a service you can use to both hide your real IP address (thus masking your geo-location) and encrypt your online traffic. By doing that, you’ll be able to easily bypass any firewall that stands in your way. Just connect to a VPN server in another country, and you’re good to go.
2. Use a Proxy Server
Think of a proxy server as a middleman between you and the Internet. You send it connection requests, and it forwards them to the web on your behalf. Once it has the requested content, it sends it back to you.
A proxy would help you bypass firewall restrictions since it is outside the firewall, and it just sends the HTML code that’s requested back to your device. Plus, if the proxy cached the Booking.com website previously, it will deliver it faster to you.
What About Tor (The Onion Router)?
While Tor is also a decent way to hide what you do on the Internet, there are two main problems with using it as a way to unblock Booking.com in Turkey:
- Tor traffic is anonymized by being passed between relays. Unfortunately, when Tor traffic passes through the last relay (also called the exit relay), it’s often unencrypted. As a result, the ISP of the person running that relay could see the Tor traffic and choose to block it.
- Turkey has previously managed to block access to the Tor network. There’s a chance you might be able to still use Tor in the country nowadays, but there’s no guarantee it will work properly.
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“Can I Use Booking.com in Turkey?” The Bottom Line
Generally, Booking.com won’t be available in Turkey if you want to use the platform to book or manage Turkish accommodations. However, according to the latest news, the government is planning on forcing national ISPs to block Booking.com (alongside with other online booking platforms) entirely.
Whichever the case, you still end up facing annoying restrictions that get in the way of your vacation and enjoyment.
No need to worry, though, since you can easily bypass those government firewall restrictions by either using a VPN or a proxy server.