Turkish ministers slam businessman’s opposition to local car production
BURSA / ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
Mustafa Koç. AA PhotoMinisters have harshly criticized the CEO of local conglomerate Koç Holding, Mustafa Koç, for his reported description of local car production as a “commercial suicide.”
“I do not know under what conditions and atmosphere Koç used this expression, but if he used it in the way that we understand, it is a very wrong and uncharacteristic expression,” Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said at a press meeting held in Bursa on April 18. He added that he condemned Koç if he had indeed said it.
Koç reportedly expressed his skepticism earlier this week at a closed meeting with a group of businessmen. “Trying to produce local cars will be a commercial suicide,” Koç was quoted as saying in media outlets.
Speaking in Ankara on April 18, Technology Minister Nihat Ergün also criticized Koç.
Ergün stressed that the government had offered to pave the way for the sector if they wanted, adding that those who did not want to take part should declare this. “If you don’t want to play, another one will,” he said.
He said there may be a number of different approaches to car manufacturing in the sector, stressing that steps should be taken in branding.
“If Turkey wants to be one of the prominent players in the automobile sector, we cannot achieve it without branding. Otherwise, we will continue to manufacture others’ brands, patents and designs and they will earn the money,” Ergün said.
Çağlayan stated that Turkey had enough power, infrastructure, labor force, technology and any required accumulation for manufacturing its own local car. “We will produce a local car, a local plane and a local helicopter by 2023,” he said.