Uber is “finished” in Turkey said Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following intense pressure from Istanbul based taxi union to banned Uber.
The Turkey government agreed on new rules that are expected to severely complicate Uber’s operations in Turkey in future. Turkey Prime Minister Binali Yildirim last month issued a directive sharply hiking fines and threatened to blacklist companies whose vehicles illegally work as taxis.
The President of Turkey Erdogan said, “This thing emerged called Uber or Muber or whatever now finished. It’s over now. Our Prime Minister (Binali Yildirim) made the announcement. We have our system of taxis,”.
Erdogan also added that while Uber may be popular in some European countries, Turkey was different. “Why did it (Uber) emerge? Because it was in Europe. But what is Europe to me? We will take the decision ourselves.”
His comments come three weeks ahead of keenly-contested presidential and parliamentary elections. Many Istanbul taxi drivers though not all are strong Erdogan supporters but the taxi associations supporting him on the issue.
The 17,400 official yellow taxis in Istanbul are a pillar of the city’s often patchy transport system, but critics say that poor quality service and overcharging have given Uber an opportunity.
The yellow taxi drivers, on the other hand, slam Uber as “pirates” who are swallowing their incomes in an already tight market.
According to the latest Uber press statement, the company is keen to follow the new law and committed to working in Turkey and insisted it is operating within the law.
“We want to work in cooperation with all the relevant stakeholders to improve transportation options in Turkey and we are committed long-term to Turkey, to the end, as a loyal partner,” Uber said in the statement.
The tension in Turkey is one of a number of headaches for Uber and its new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over last August after founder Travis Kalanick was ousted following a series of scandals.