Guns N’ Turkeys

Boray Dundar’s reputation and any hopes he had of surviving in the live music business could be in jeopardy after his Guns N’ Roses show only half-filled a 12,000-capacity Kuruçesme Arena in Turkey, leaving a national ticketing business with egg on its face and about a quarter-million dollar downside.

Earlier in the year, Dundar told Pollstar he intended to use the profits from this year’s Rock Istanbul to settle money he owed to Turkish-based booking agency Charmenko and acts including Garbage and Megadeth. But the U.S. rockers’ July 11th performance did so badly that his credibility as a promoter has evaporated.

He claims to have booked the GNR show without using an intermediary and with funds from a partner that he refuses to name. But Joe Rambock from Germany’s Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur said he brokered the show and that the money was guaranteed and paid by TicketTurk, one of the country’s main ticketing companies.

TicketTurk managing director Gulseren Onanc admitted to her company underwriting the Guns N’ Roses fee, but said she was confident Dundar will repay it, although it’s difficult to see how he’s going to do that as Charmenko has distraining orders on any money he’s likely to receive.

Mike Dewdney from Live Nation‘s ITB (agent for Megadeth) and Free Trade Agency‘s Paul Boswell (Garbage) are still waiting for the balance of fees from last year’s Rock Istanbul, an event that led to an Istanbul Court granting Charmenko leave to seize Dundar’s proverbial “goods and chattels.”

The problem with enforcing this December 23rd ruling is that the bailiffs aren’t able to lay their hands on any of Dundar’s goods and chattels. A similar order against Fil Yapim, his partner in Rock Istanbul 2005, has foundered for the same reason.

Industry sources claim the company’s Istanbul offices are closed and an eviction notice was nailed to the door.

Dundar said he lost Tuborg’s sponsorship because the brewer realized it would have to follow the court order – known as an “89/1” – and first pay Charmenko, which is owed US$65,000 from last year.

It seems he decided to try trading himself out of this financial hole by setting up a new company – that doesn’t include him as a director – and get someone else to put up the money for another big show.

The new company looks to be – as opposed to the old Rock Istanbul – and the board includes former Fil Yapim director Murat Dogan and former employee Gurol Yilmaz. The money came from TicketTurk, which helped Dundar sidestep the distraining order by guaranteeing it direct to MLK. Guns N’ Roses completed Dundar’s equation by providing the entertainment.

The reason it hasn’t all added up is because the show lost a packet, leaving Dewdney, Boswell and Nick Hobbs (Charmenko) – and now TicketTurk and some local suppliers – on the minus side.

Onanc denied that she also undertook to help clear up last year’s mess by promising TicketTurk would pay off the balances owed to Megadeth and Garbage, although Pollstar has had sight of two letters she appears to have signed personally – both dated September 20, 2005, and faxed the following day – that do make such an undertaking.

When questioned on this correspondence, Onanc said she refuses to discuss the matter with journalists. She declined to comment on whether the reason is that she doesn’t want TicketTurk to be named in negative publicity at a time when it’s rumoured to be subject of a takeover by the wealthy Saran Group.

Saran is largely owned by Sadettin Saran, chairman of Besiktas soccer club – one of the country’s top three teams – and there’s business and media speculation that he wants to invest in TicketTurk and build it as a competitor to market-leader Billetix.

– John Gammon