Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his interest in attracting Tesla’s investment to Turkey during a meeting with the company’s CEO Elon Musk in New York on Monday. The two leaders discussed the potential of establishing a Tesla car factory in Turkey, as well as cooperating on other areas such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, and satellite internet.
Erdogan told Musk that Turkey would welcome Tesla’s presence in the country and that many Turkish suppliers were already working with the electric carmaker. He also said that Turkey was open to collaboration on artificial intelligence and Starlink, the satellite internet venture of Musk’s SpaceX. Musk responded that SpaceX wanted to work with Turkish authorities to obtain the necessary license to offer Starlink services in Turkey.
The meeting took place at Turkish House, a skyscraper near the United Nations headquarters, where Erdogan is attending the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly. The Turkish president also invited Musk to attend the Turkish aerospace and technology festival Teknofest in Izmir at the end of September. Musk said he would gladly attend the event.
A strategic move
The meeting between Erdogan and Musk is seen as a strategic move by Turkey to boost its economy and technological development amid its strained relations with some of its Western allies. Turkey has been facing economic challenges such as high inflation, currency depreciation, and foreign debt. It has also been involved in diplomatic disputes with the U.S., the European Union, and NATO over issues such as human rights, democracy, and regional conflicts.
By seeking Tesla’s investment, Turkey hopes to create more jobs, increase its exports, and enhance its competitiveness in the global market. Tesla is one of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers and has a market value of over $700 billion. It currently has six factories around the world and is building a seventh one in Mexico. Musk said in May that Tesla would probably pick a location for a new factory by the end of this year.
By cooperating with SpaceX, Turkey also aims to advance its space program and expand its access to satellite internet. Turkey launched its first domestically made satellite, Turksat 5A, in January this year with the help of SpaceX. It plans to launch another one, Turksat 5B, later this year. Turkey also announced its National Space Program in February, which includes sending a Turkish astronaut to space and landing on the moon by 2028.
A mutual benefit
The meeting between Erdogan and Musk also benefits both parties in terms of their public image and reputation. Erdogan has been trying to improve his popularity among his supporters and attract more foreign investors to his country. He has been portraying himself as a visionary leader who can lead Turkey to a prosperous future. He has also been emphasizing his achievements in science and technology, such as launching satellites, developing drones, and building electric vehicles.
Musk, on the other hand, has been facing some criticism and controversy over his business practices, social media posts, and personal life. He has been accused of manipulating cryptocurrency markets, spreading misinformation about COVID-19, and violating labor laws. He has also been involved in legal battles with his ex-wife, former employees, and shareholders. By meeting with Erdogan, Musk shows his willingness to work with different countries and leaders, regardless of their political views or ideologies. He also demonstrates his ambition to expand his businesses and projects across the world.