Istanbul taxi chamber rejects plan for new taxis, says it steers Turkish politics

The head of the Chamber of Istanbul Taxi Businesses has rejected plans by the city’s opposition mayor to introduce thousands of new taxis to the city, saying the chamber has the ability to change the course of Turkish politics.

Plans announced by Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu to introduce 5,000 taxis to Turkey’s largest city, citing a shortage of the vehicles, has saddened and unsettled drivers, Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted Eyüp Aksu as saying.

"If this model that İmamoğlu speaks of is brought to life, it will mean the end for us as 17,395 taxi tradesmen,’’ Aksu said. 

"We are a civil society organisation and group that could change the future of politics in Turkey,’’ he added, referring to the chamber, which represents around 50,000 taxi drivers with some 17,000 licensed cabs.

Earlier this month, İmamoğlu said Istanbul’s taxis, currently numbering 17,395, were inadequate, leading to unmonitored alternatives such as “pirate taxis” being used across the city.

The new taxis would be owned by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, İmamoğlu said. 

Aksu said Istanbul was currently not in need of taxis and the city had a sufficient number should its traffic problem be solved.