TicketTurk Fights To The Megadeth

Garbage looked likely to win its March 7 court hearing against TicketTurk but it looked equally unlikely that it will be the end of a legal saga that has dragged on since Rock Istanbul 2005.

Along with U.S. rockers Megadeth, the band has spent nearly three years trying to recover the balance of its fees from the company’s second-biggest ticket-seller, which undertook to pay the money when promoter Boray Dundar went bust.

TicketTurk’s lawyers at Ekmekci & Karakus had managed to stall both cases through various hearing and adjournments until December 28, when Istanbul’s commercial court ruled in Megadeth’s favour. The band was awarded the full amount of the claim, plus interest, court fees and compensation for the ticketing giant – which once attracted the interest of Germany’s CTS Eventim – acting in bad faith.

Savas Inandioglu of Topdemir and Inandioglu, the Istanbul-based lawyer representing both acts, is holding two documents apparently signed by TicketTurk managing director Gulseren Onanc dated September 20, 2005, that appear to commit her company to honouring the debts Dundar owes both acts.

Ekmekci & Karakus contended that, under Turkish law, there was no "legal and binding" reason for its client to pay, although that didn’t stand up at the December 28 Megadeth hearing.

There seemed no reason that it should stand up at the March 7 Garbage hearing either, but it’s likely that TicketTurk will, as it’s done in the Megadeth case, take the matter to the Court Of Appeal.

"They have right to appeal but it seems that they simply don’t accept that they have lost. I can’t understand the reason that they’re appealing and so I can’t explain it to you," Inandioglu told Pollstar.

He first learned of the appeal on January 24, when he and court bailiffs went to TicketTurk’s offices to remove assets worth euro 17,391, the total value of the December 28 judgment.

TicketTurk immediately paid the bailiffs but also gave notice that it intends to appeal that judgment, which means the court holds the full amount in escrow until the appeal.

Nick Hobbs of Charmenko, who booked both acts on Rock Istanbul and is helping to chase their outstanding fees along with his own company’s commission, said he can’t understand why the ticketing company is fighting a lost cause over such relatively small amounts.

"TicketTurk made official, signed, unambiguous undertakings to the two bands, which they failed to honour. As long as the Turkish legal system functions, which it generally does, according to international standards, then TicketTurk is pretty much bound to lose the cases," Hobbs said.

"The end result will be that the total cost will be something around twice what it would have been if they’d honoured the undertakings, plus a lot of grief. Instead of creating goodwill, they’re losing it," Hobbs added.

Ticketmaster’s Billetix is the country’s biggest ticket-seller, with about 80 percent of the contemporary live music market. TicketTurk is in danger of losing second position to the Ankara-based Mybilet.

Mybilet was started in 2000 but has now grown to the point where it’s selling tickets for international shows and acts including "Sultans Of The Dance," "Grease" and David Copperfield, top national acts including Tarekan and popular stand-up comedian Cem Y┼żlmaz.

The Court Of Appeal, which is in Ankara, will review the Megadeth judgment and decide whether it should stand.

If TicketTurk loses the March 7 Garbage hearing, which looks likely given the result of the Megadeth case, then it may well be that the ticketing company will also appeal that judgment.

At press time neither TicketTurk nor Ekmekci & Karakus had responded to requests for comment.