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Erdoğan asks Musk to build Tesla factory in Turkey

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged tech tycoon Elon Musk to open his next Tesla factory in Turkey, becoming the latest leader to lobby one of the world’s richest men, Agence France-Presse reported.

Erdoğan and Musk held a series of meetings both in Turkey and on the sidelines of international forums, developing a seeming friendship that they extended on Sunday in New York.

Turkish television on Monday showed Musk entering New York’s Turkish House, a new skyscraper across from the United Nations building, with his son, whom he held on his lap during the talks.

“President Erdoğan called on Tesla to establish its seventh factory in Turkey,” the Turkish leader’s office said.

Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency said Musk told Erdoğan that his country was “among the most important candidates” for the new factory.

Erdoğan’s lobbying efforts follow those undertaken by French President Emmanuel Macron, who met Musk in June, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Erdoğan was in New York to attend the annual UN General Assembly, which he is scheduled to address on Tuesday.

Tesla currently has six factories, including two outside the United States — one in Shanghai focused on the Asian market and a second focused on European sales near Berlin.

It is also building one in Mexico and has tentative plans for a plant in India.

Erdoğan likes to promote Turkey’s high-tech sector, which is arguably most famous for its Bayraktar combat drones.

The drones, which helped Ukraine repel Russia’s march on Kyiv in the first weeks of its invasion last year, featured prominently during Erdoğan’s May re-election campaign.

Turkey this year also unveiled its first domestically-made electric vehicle, called Togg, which requires a constant stream of electric batteries and parts.

Musk’s SpaceX has also been working with Turkey’s space industry, launching some of its communications satellites.

Erdoğan’s office said he invited Musk to attend Teknofest, a technology fair scheduled for later this month in Turkey’s western city of İzmir.

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