Vehicles that carry passengers without a commercial taxi license plate and being bound by Chamber of Taxi Drivers are called pirate taxi in Turkey. It is not legal to work without a valid commercial taxi license plate and Chamber of Drivers registration. In spite of this, it is estimated that pirate taxis are available at least as much as legal commercial taxis in big cities such as Istanbul and Ankara.
In a pirate taxi, official documents such as a working license are absolutely missing even if the driver's license and the license of the vehicle are found. If you think that the vehicle you are traveling as a passenger is a pirate taxi, ask to driver to see the official license and documents.
With the new legislation coming into force in 2012, the penalties given to pirate taxi drivers have become quite heavy.According to the legislation, without permission of the related municipality or commercial license of the vehicle carrying passengers are fined about 2,184 TRY. If the same crime is repeated within the following year, the punishment is increased. The passengers who use the pirate taxis are also fined.
You can also find some news in the past about pirate taxis here (in Turkish):
If you suspect that you encountered a pirate taxi, you can easily fill out the Pirate Taxi Complaint Form and submit it to the Istanbul Taxi Chamber. The Chamber of Taxi Drivers and UKOME works in coordination with the police forces against pirate taxis and imposes penal sanctions in such cases.
We do not support pirate taxis and do not advise you to use them. We would like to remind you that you can not legally claim a pirate taxi for any incident that may happen since it is not connected to any chamber, taxi rank or government agency. Besides not only driver but also passengers are punished when they caught.