Standing in Istanbul’s main Taksim Square, Abubakir raises his hand and a yellow taxi appears instantly. Happy to close a lucrative deal, the driver helps the family with their bags as Abubakir, his wife and their two kids take their seats for the ride. Meanwhile, a Turkish woman who has long been waiting for a taxi across the street stares and sighs furiously.
Taxi drivers picking up foreigners over local customers has long been a common scene in Istanbul’s tourist hotspots. Videos showing drivers not accepting Turkish customers and choosing Arabs over Turks have been prevalent on social media over the past months. A TikTok user went even further to prove the point, carrying empty luggage in order to look like a tourist while attempting to flag down a taxi.