What is wrong with the ‘milli’ car?

What is wrong with the ‘milli’ car?

Actually there is nothing wrong with the “Milli” (National) Car project as it is, except that it is not actually national. The project is absolutely international. There is nothing wrong with that either. So I don’t know why the government insists on calling it a national project. 

Then why were there immense protests against the revelation of the project by Science, Technology and Industry Minister Fikri Işık via Twitter? Come to think of it, our president, Tayyip Erdoğan, once called Twitter a menace to society. These days, however, even a minister uses it to launch the biggest project he is overseeing. That’s a topic of another article, though. 

The debate started with a tweet from Işık stating that he was launching the National Car project with a photo attached to the tweet of three camouflaged cars. He was very proud and so were the supporters of the government. Thousands of tweets followed the minister’s, all stating that the government was the best and that the opposition should just go and hide somewhere. 

In turn, this made the people supporting the opposition angry, and they began mocking the minister and the cars because they were obviously stolen from another manufacturer, Saab, with its 9-3. So suddenly, the minister and the followers found themselves in an awkward position. Quickly, other statements were made and explained that the “national car” project would be based on the Saab 9-3 platform with a Turkish engine.

Furthermore, the engine would either be a hybrid or completely electric. Işık stated that the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) would soon open up an engine research center for the car.

The CEO of Saab also stated that there would be close cooperation with Turkish engineers about the manufacturing. 

This is actually all good news. I am very happy that we will have a car that we can do research on and try to market both nationally and internationally. But I cannot help asking myself: Why do we call this car the “national car” knowing that the car itself is a Swedish-born Chinese contraption?

Why we are so keen to make every technology “milli” when the emphasis of all new technologies and great contemporary companies is becoming global? 

If Işık said this was an international effort and that we would be closely cooperating with foreigners to build a car in Turkey, everyone would just congratulate him. Now he will be remembered as the minister who tried to fool his citizens. 

Therefore, I want to underline the fact that in the day and age we are living in, the best option is to be open and transparent.