Erdogan says Uber ‘finished’ in Turkey

A woman opens the UBER application on her mobile phone at the Eminonu district on March 30, 2018 in Istanbul. (AFP)
Updated 02 June 2018
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Erdogan says Uber ‘finished’ in Turkey

  • Drivers of Istanbul’s yellow taxis have over the last months waged an intense campaign to have Uber banned
  • Erdogan said that while Uber may be popular in some European countries, Turkey was different

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ride hailing app Uber is “finished” in Turkey, following intense pressure from Istanbul taxi drivers for the service to be banned.
Erdogan’s comments, in a late night speech Friday in Istanbul, came after the government agreed new rules that are expected to severely complicate Uber’s operations in Turkey.
Drivers of Istanbul’s yellow taxis have over the last months waged an intense campaign to have Uber banned, saying the company is eating into their business without having a proper legal basis for work.
“This thing emerged called Uber or Muber or whatever,” said Erdogan. “But this issue is now finished. It’s over now.”
“Our Prime Minister (Binali Yildirim) made the announcement. We have our system of taxis,” he added.
Yildirim’s government last month issued a directive sharply hiking fines and threatened blacklisting for companies whose vehicles illegally work as taxis.
The official taxi drivers association said at the time the measure would be a major threat to Uber, if it was properly enforced by the traffic police.
Erdogan said that while Uber may be popular in some European countries, Turkey was different.
“Why did it (Uber) emerge? Because it was in Europe. But what is Europe to me? We will take the decision ourselves.”
His comments come three weeks ahead of keenly-contested presidential and parliamentary elections. Many Istanbul taxi drivers — though not all — are strong Erdogan supporters and the main taxi associations back him.
The 17,400 official yellow taxis in Istanbul are a pillar of the city’s often patchy transport system, but critics say that poor quality service and overcharging have given Uber an opportunity.
The yellow taxi drivers, on the other hand, slam Uber as “pirates” who are swallowing their incomes in an already tight market.
Uber has said it is committed to working in Turkey and insisted it is operating within the law.
“We want to work in cooperation with all the relevant stakeholders to improve transportation options in Turkey and we are committed long-term to Turkey, to the end, as a loyal partner,” it said in a rare Turkish statement this week.
The tension in Turkey is one of a number of headaches for Uber and its new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over last August after founder Travis Kalanick was ousted following a series of scandals.


World’s biggest sovereign fund worried about trade wars

Updated 21 August 2018
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World’s biggest sovereign fund worried about trade wars

  • The fund posted a positive return of 1.8 percent, or 167 billion kroner ($19.8 billion), in the second quarter
  • Markets are worried about a trade dispute between the United States and China

OSLO: The managers of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, expressed concern Tuesday about global trade tensions, which could heavily impact its value.
The fund posted a positive return of 1.8 percent, or 167 billion kroner ($19.8 billion), in the second quarter, helping erase a loss of 171 billion kroner in January-March that was attributed to a volatile stock market.
The Government Pension Fund Global, which saw its total value swell to 8.33 trillion kroner by the end of June, manages the country’s oil revenues in order to finance Norway’s generous welfare state when its oil and gas wells run dry.
But Norway’s central bank, which runs the fund, said geopolitical and trade tensions presented a risk.
“It’s fair to say that increased trade barriers or even trade wars will not be beneficial for the fund as a long-term global investor,” Trond Grande, the deputy chief of Norges Bank Investment Management, told reporters.
Markets are worried about a trade dispute between the United States and China. Accusing Beijing of unfair competition, the US administration is considering slapping a new round of levies worth $200 billion on Chinese goods.
Talks between the two slated for Wednesday and Thursday aimed at resolving the dispute have however eased concerns somewhat.
Following US-Turkey tensions that sent the Turkish lira and the Istanbul stock market tumbling, the Norwegian fund said its assets there were worth less than the 23 billion kroner they were at the beginning of the year.
“We’ve seen the market rise for a long time, that there are different political and geopolitical events in the world that can affect the market, and we have to be prepared for the fact that (the value of) the fund can go down a lot,” Grande concluded.
The fund’s strong second quarter was attributed primarily to its share portfolio, which accounts for 66.8 percent of its investments and which rose by 2.7 percent.
Real estate holdings, which account for 2.6 percent of its holdings, rose by 1.9 percent, while bond investments, which represent 30.6 percent, remained flat.
Faced with falling oil revenues in recent years, the Norwegian government has been tapping the fund to finance public spending since 2015. But with oil prices recovering, the fund registered its first inflow in three years in June.