President Erdoğan, Elon Musk discuss Tesla cooperation with Turkish firms

President Erdoğan, Elon Musk discuss Tesla cooperation with Turkish firms


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk met in Ankara on Nov. 8 to discuss possible cooperation between Tesla, SpaceX and Turkish firms, as well as electric cars, Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın has said.

Musk, who is in Turkey to attend the Global SatShow, to be held in Istanbul on Nov. 9, met Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara.

The meeting was attended by Kalın, Erdoğan’s chief aides, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü and Transportation, Maritime and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan.

Kalın said Musk and Erdoğan discussed potential joint operations between Tesla Inc, Musk’s SpaceX company and Turkish firms, as well as the launch of Turkey’s Turksat 5A and 5B satellites.

“We also exchanged views on what sort of joint operations Turkish firms could have with the SpaceX and Tesla companies,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkey aims to launch the Turksat 5A satellite in 2020 and the 5B in 2021. In October, Airbus submitted the best bid in a tender to build Turkish satellites.

The agreement is set to be signed in Istanbul on Nov. 9 and Musk will also be present at the meeting as a subcontractor.

Musk’s SpaceX plans to stage its first trip to Mars in 2022, carrying only cargo, to be followed by a manned mission in 2024.

Kalın also said Erdoğan and Musk had discussed electric cars, days after Turkey unveiled plans to launch a car made entirely in Turkey by 2021.

The meeting came a few days after Turkey launched a joint venture of five local industrial giants to produce its first domestically-made car on Nov. 2.

Five suppliers - Anadolu Group, BMC, Kıraça Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding - will jointly manufacture Turkey’s first indigenous car.