Uber is a closed debate for Turkey - Erdoğan

The issue of Uber is over for the Turkish government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday during an iftar meal with the owners of small businesses in Istanbul, Anadolu Agency reported

About 17,400 taxis operate in Istanbul and since Uber entered the country in 2014 tensions have risen sharply. The feud in some instances led to violent attacks against Uber drivers, and the head of the Chamber of Istanbul Taxi Businesses accused Uber of launching a targeted attack on his industry carried out by what he called “the Jewish lobby”. Istanbul’s taxi drivers also took Uber to court accusing it of unfair competition.

The Turkish government in May 2018 introduced changes in taxi regulations to bring in heavy penalties for providing unlicensed minicab services leading to authorities revoking licenses issued to Uber drivers.

Erdoğan said on Friday that, he told a group of people coming from abroad during a recent meeting in Istanbul that there was no such thing like Uber in his literature. 

“Uber is not different from unlicensed taxi driving,” Erdoğan said, adding that, as a result he told the group that Turkey would not let the company undermine the rights of Turkey’s own taxi drivers. 

“This is why I did not give an appointment to the person that heads the international Uber taxi company,” Erdoğan said. 

“Therefore my brothers, the issue of Uber is over for us as the government of the Turkish Republic,” Erdoğan said, adding that the government is in talks with the Chamber of Istanbul Taxi Businesses to increase the service standards of licensed taxis.