Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared during a Ramadan dinner that the ridesharing company Uber is “over” in Turkey and apparently the interior ministry has given “the order”.
Uber currently runs under a license that costs much less than taxi plates (about $760 US instead of $360,000), but Erdogan argued that it was “not possible” to offer a taxi alternative with that lower-cost option.
Uber, on the other hand, has released an update confirming that its service continues to operate in Turkey, although there’s a court hearing on Uber scheduled for June 4th.
Market analysts aren’t entirely convinced there will be a shutdown, while One Uber operator speaking to Bloomberg called an anti-Uber crackdown an “election pledge” that didn’t carry much weight.
If there is a ban, it would compound Uber’s ongoing problems finding acceptance abroad. It recently dodged bans in places like the Czech Republic and Egypt, but it hasn’t always been lucky, just look at London, Sofia or Zagreb as an example.
In Turkey’s case, it’s facing both the usual opposition from taxi drivers as well as a nationalistic government bent on protecting local businesses. In the Balkan region, besides the troubles in Sofia and Zagreb, Uber hasn’t been active in other countries, despite rumors for a launch in Kosovo, Albania or Macedonia. That, however, has benefited the local start-up’s scenes, with local alternatives popping up in each country, although not with a lot of success.