Sanctions hit Russians in Turkey: Russian tour operator's money frozen

Sanctions hit Russians in Turkey: Russian tour operator's money frozen

In Turkey, the sanctions scandal continues to develop between the Russian tour operator Fun & Sun (formerly TUI Russia) and the host tour operator Tantur, which mainly serves the German TUI, and previously worked with its Russian “daughter”. According to the newspaper Turizmguncel, Turkish Tantur announced the termination of contracts with the Russian tour operator t-Travel LLC (formerly TUI Russia and the CIS), as well as Borublita Holdings Limited and TT Baltics, and even froze the advance deposits of these companies, citing the fact that the alleged owners Russian tour operator are on the sanctions list. On the pages of Turizmguncel, this decision of Tantour was subjected to “hard criticism” from the Russian tour operator. Below is a brief translation of this material into Russian.

What is the essence of the problem?

According to the publication, Taras Demura, head of Fun&Sun, said that Russian tourists planning holidays in Turkey “began to express concern” about their tours. One of the reasons for concern is just the statement of Tantur, a subsidiary of the German TUI, which provided ground services to tourists from Russia and the CIS in Turkey until March 2022. In April 2022, Tantur sent a letter to Turkish hotels, where he said that he was terminating contracts with TT-Travel (formerly TUI Russia and the CIS) and other aforementioned tour operators unilaterally. The reason allegedly is that “the listed tour operators are controlled by a person subject to EU and UK sanctions”, which a subsidiary of European origin is obliged to comply with.

“Companies and their owners are not on the sanctions list”

As Taras Demura recalled in his appeal, back in April 2022, Tantour sent a letter to hoteliers and announced that he was terminating contracts with three tour operators – TT-Travel LLC (i.e. the legal entity TUI Russia), Borublita Holdings Limited and TT Baltiks on a sole basis. In the letter, the tour operator stated that it could make all previously made bookings for tourist accommodation with these tour operators on May 31, 2022. He explained the reason for the suspension of cooperation by the fact that the listed tour operators are controlled by a person subject to EU and UK sanctions, and Tantour, which is a subsidiary of a European company, is obliged to comply with the sanctions. “This statement is incorrect, since none of the owners of tour operators is a sanctioned person, and companies are not included in the sanctions lists,” the head of the Russian tour operator said.

“They must act in accordance with the rules Turkish law”

In turn, Taras Demura in his statement stressed that Tantur is a company of Turkish subordination, respectively, the tour operator is obliged to act in accordance with the norms of Turkish law. “And, as you know, no sanctions decisions have been made or applied by the Republic of Turkey against Russian citizens and companies,” said a representative of the tour operator.

“TUI has frozen advance payments without any legal bases”

In a separate paragraph, Taras Demura emphasized such an alarming moment. “Tantur has taken the decision to freeze the advance costs paid to it by our tour operators with contract and standing commitments based on information that was known to be false from the start and had no legal basis. At the same time, the tour operator did not specify how and within what time frame it plans to return the money it received,” said the head of Fun&Sun. He stressed that the tour operator plans to protect its rights, as well as the rights of tourists.

“We will take the necessary steps”

Another point that Taras Demura emphasized in his address, according to the Turkish media, was also the deliberate damage to the business reputation of the tour operator. He emphasized that the aforementioned article by Tantour was deliberately given to the press and an attempt was made to widely disseminate it. As a result, Taras Demura announced that he intends to take not only the necessary measures to collect receivables from Tantura, but also to publicly refute the information provided to the press and compensate for damage to business reputation.

“We will claim damages inside and out of court”

“Currently, we hope for a pre-trial solution to the problems that arise with Tantour, and we are conducting appropriate research on this issue. At the same time, we prepare documents and information for the debt collection process in the judicial jurisdictions of Turkey. In addition, we will require extrajudicial and domestic methods of public refutation of false information that caused damage to our business reputation, as well as compensation for damage and loss caused to our business reputation. I am sure that the judicial authorities of the Republic of Turkey will carry out the necessary assessment of the actions of Tantour,” said Taras Demura. In addition, he reassured the current tourists of his company.

“We are expanding our presence in Turkey”

In his message, the tour operator emphasized separately that despite the difficulties that the tour operator is facing, Fun&Sun plans to expand its presence in the Turkish market, as well as fulfill all obligations to tourists and provide them with a full range of services. “In 2021, we sent about 1 million tourists from Russia, the CIS countries and the Baltic countries to Turkey, and we plan even more in 2022,” said the general director of the tour operator and further explained how this will be done.

“We signed a contract with Turkish partners again”

“Currently, we are hosting our tourists in Turkey by a company that is our subsidiary Fun And Sun Hotels, the hotel business Turizm Inşaat Tic.A.S ifa etmektedir. Our team includes professionals with experience in working with guests from Russia and the CIS countries. We have created the necessary infrastructure and processes for accommodating tourists and interacting with hoteliers, as well as re-signed contracts with other Turkish partners. In this way, our customers in Turkey enjoy their holidays and see that we continue to provide a high level of service. A large proportion of Turkish hoteliers and our other business partners who do not respect Tantour's malicious initiatives continue to act in accordance with the norms of the law, are open to cooperation and sincerely welcome guests from Russia and the CIS and provide a comfortable and safe holiday in Turkish resorts,” Taras Demura summed up in his statement.

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