Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared Uber “finished” in the Middle Eastern country.
"This thing called Uber emerged. That business is finished. That does not exist anymore," the head of state said in a speech late Friday."We have our taxi system. Where does this (Uber) come from? It is used in Europe; I do not care about that. We will decide by ourselves."
Following protests from cab drivers in Istanbul, the president is seeking to oust the taxi app service from the country. Dozens of taxi drivers showed support for Erdogan by gathering outside his private residence, according to the Dogan news agency.
"Turkey is a state of law. We don't need to say sorry for this. It (Uber) has not been given the authorization to carry out taxi services," state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu as saying.
The more than 17,000 taxis operators, in Istanbul, had expressed displeasure over Uber entering the market, in 2014. Uber operations now face certain collapse after new regulations, tightening transport licensing requirements, were announced.
One such measure in putting in place a two-year ban which will target drivers who seek to register with the service.
Uber in Istanbul is believed to be a 10,000-cab strong operation. The company is yet to respond to Erdogan's statement.
However, taxi app service provider claimed that about 2,000 yellow cab drivers use the app to source customers and an additional 5,000 were employed to UberXL – large vans that transport groups to parties or do airport runs.
Uber recently lost its license in London but remains in operation pending an appeal.