Uber pulls plug on larger vehicle service UberXL in Istanbul

Uber announced on Friday that it is ending its UberXL services in Istanbul, but residents of  Turkey’s largest city will still be able to call smaller yellow taxis through its app.

The announcement follows a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 25 that Uber was “over’’ in Turkey.

“More than 4 million users have downloaded our application in Turkey, and 6,000 companies along with 12,000 UberXL driver partners have generated an income thanks to Uber," the company said in a statement, calling the decision to end Uber XL services ‘’a very difficult’’ one.

Uber entered Turkey in 2014, posing a threat to the some 17,400 taxis operating particularly in Istanbul, home to 16 million people. The feud in some instances have resulted in violent attacks against Uber drivers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has consistently sided with taxi drivers in the years-long feud between Uber and the local taxi unions.

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