Erdogan says Turkey may extend special consumption tax cuts on cars


ANKARA, May 24 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his government may extend existing special consumption tax cuts on cars when they expire next month, in a move aimed at boosting declining car sales.

Sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles slid 56% year-on-year in April, the Automotive Distributors' Association (ODD) said earlier this month, adding that sales dropped 48% in the first four months of the year.

Turkey's government had imposed cuts on the special consumption tax for some cars last November and later extended the cuts until the end of June.

Speaking to Turkish tradesman and artisans in Istanbul, Erdogan said the tax cuts may be extended, as he sought to drum up support for next month's renewed Istanbul mayoral elections.

"We had cut down special consumption tax, and, if necessary, we may extend this application which ends at the end of next month," Erdogan said at an iftar dinner for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

In the March 31 local elections, Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) earned a narrow victory over Erdogan's AK Party, ending 25 years of rule by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors in the city.

After weeks of appeals by the AKP, the High Election Board ruled on May 6 to annul and re-run the mayoral election over what it said were irregularities in the appointment of polling station officials. It set the renewed elections for June 23.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu Editing by Tom Brown)

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