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İstanbul taxi drivers protest Careem after Uber acquisition

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Taxi drivers in İstanbul have stopped using Careem, the biggest ride-hailing app in the Middle East, following its acquisition by Uber, with which the drivers have been in a feud for months, the Hürriyet Daily News reported on Wednesday.

The popular US-based ride-sharing service Uber will acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, expanding its influence over Middle Eastern markets.

Careem’s agreement with Uber has sparked a storm of reaction by Turkey’s taxi drivers, even though they had previously won restrictions against Uber.

“We are through with Careem. There are about 1,500 İstanbul taxis using Careem. This move by Uber is aimed at entering Middle East markets. Since Careem is dominant in the Middle East, they bought it,” Hüseyin Duman, the head of Turkey’s United Taxi Drivers Association, told the Hürriyet daily.

Duman also stressed many taxi drivers in Middle Eastern and North African countries were protesting the sale, including drivers in Morocco and Palestine.

Uber is “competing unfairly,” Duman claimed.

Tensions rose between taxi drivers and Uber drivers in Turkey, leading to violence last year.

But with a regulation the Turkish government introduced in May 2018 that prevented illegal passenger transportation, taxi drivers breathed a sigh of relief, thinking it was the “end of Uber.”

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