Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build an electric car factory in Turkey during a meeting in New York City on September 17.
Erdogan and Musk met at Turkish House, a skyscraper near the United Nations, ahead of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly that the Turkish President will attend.
Elon Musk reportedly said during the meeting that many Turkish suppliers are already working with Tesla and that Turkey was among the leading candidates for its next plant, according to the country’s communications directorate via Reuters.
Turkey has long been a manufacturing powerhouse for international companies, hosting plants for global automakers including Fiat, Renault, Hyundai, Toyota, and Ford. In 2022, Turkey produced 1,352,648 motor vehicles, ranking as the 13th largest producer in the world.
Turkey is also home to EV startup TOGG, the country’s first national manufacturer of electric vehicles. Tesla officially entered the Turkish market in April.
During the meeting that lasted approximately 45 minutes, Erdogan also said that Turkey was open to cooperation on artificial intelligence and Starlink, the satellite internet venture of Musk’s SpaceX.
Musk said SpaceX wished to work with Turkish authorities to obtain the necessary license to offer Starlink satellite services in the country, the communications directorate said. It also said Erdogan invited Musk to attend Turkish aerospace and technology festival Teknofest in Izmir at the end of September; Musk reportedly said he would gladly attend.
After Tesla confirmed in March that it would open a new electric car plant in Mexico’s northern state of Nuevo Leon, everyone is now curious where the EV maker’s next manufacturing facility will be located.
Last month, Tesla expressed an interest in building a factory in India that would produce a low-cost electric vehicles, after many years of courting Indian authorities.
Tesla currently has six factories and is building a seventh in Mexico as part of its push to expand its global footprint. Musk said in May that Tesla would probably pick a location for a new factory by the end of this year.
Musk is also expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in California on September 18. Tesla’s CEO posted on social media platform X that their talks would focus on artificial intelligence technology.
Musk was accompanied by his son “Lil X” during the meeting, which is rather unusual as the billionaire rarely shows his family to the public. The kid’s presence prompted a rather awkward exchange when Erdogan asked Musk where his wife was. “Oh she, she is in San Francisco. We are separated now. That’s why I take care of him mostly,” Musk replied.