Dissatisfied with working conditions, taxi drivers held a protest in Istanbul

Global Look Press / Karl F. Schöfmann / imageBROKER.com
Global Look Press / Karl F. Schöfmann / imageBROKER.com

Istanbul taxi drivers, dissatisfied with working conditions, held a protest at night near the municipality building.

About 200 drivers of the metropolis gathered around midnight in the Şişli area, and then went on a convoy to the Istanbul administration in the Fatih area. Near the city hall, they expressed their disagreement with working conditions and low fares. According to the protesters, a taxi ride has become cheaper than public transport.

In addition, dissatisfied drivers opposed the municipality’s new initiative to convert about 2,150 minibuses and minibuses into eight-seat taxis. The demonstrators said that if their voices were not heard, they would turn off the ignition and stop working.

“The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, brought us to this state,” said one of the protesters.

Political confrontation

The issue around the Istanbul taxi drivers has long acquired a political color. Metropolitan mayor Ekrem Imamoglu represents the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), so on the eve of the 2023 elections, representatives of the ruling political forces are trying to use every opportunity to discredit potential rivals.

So, on the eve of the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting with drivers of taxis and minibuses and listened to their claims against the administration of the metropolis, which is in the hands of the opposition.

“You ruined the game for those who tried to rip something off of you. It was very important. I believe that Istanbul will become much calmer and more comfortable in the future. I hope that both minibus drivers and taxi drivers will continue to provide their services much more calmly. We have 7 months [до выборов]. I hope that the steps that will be taken [после выборов]will reassure you, as well as the people of Istanbul,” the Turkish leader said at the event.

Upcoming elections

Turkey will hold general elections in June 2023. According to a survey conducted by MetroPoll, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is popular with 29.6% of respondents, while the opposition CHP is popular with 20%. However, given that only 6.7% are ready to vote for the AKP’s coalition ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), it will be extremely difficult for the current authorities to take over the majority of seats in parliament. In turn, the opposition bloc called “Table Six” also cannot win over a significant number of voters.

Thus, the voting results promise to be unpredictable, and it is too early to draw conclusions about the favorites. Moreover, the union of opposition parties has not decided on a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections. The most likely contenders are the RNP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, against whom a taxi driver protested the day before.

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