A Turkish official posted pictures from the meeting on X, formerly known as Twitter, writing (translated from Turkish), “Our President @RTErdogan received Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX companies, at the Turkevi in New York.”
Erdogan’s interest in courting Musk, according to reporting from Bloomberg, may have less to do with electric cars than it does with enhancing his country’s military capacities. Musk’s SpaceX-supported Starlink satellite internet service has been used by both the United States and the Ukrainian military for communications and intelligence gathering.
The service has also been the source of recent controversy when it emerged that Musk had refused to allow Ukraine to use Starlink to launch an attack on Russian forces in Crimea in 2022.
Erdogan, however, seems optimistic about a future partnership with Musk. “Meeting with Musk has allowed Erdogan to promote some of his key ambitions, such as the planned launch of the Turksat 6A satellite next June,” Bloomberg wrote. “Erdogan has called that a critical milestone for collecting intelligence that may be used for military purposes.”
A partnership between Erdogan and Musk, both controversial figures, would come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the type of public comments each is prone to making.
For example, a few months ago, Erdogan told supporters at a rally, “We are against the LGBT.” At the same time, Musk’s hard-right views on trans rights have been documented, including a statement that he would start “actively lobbying to criminalize” supporting a minor’s desire for gender-affirming healthcare, as reported by Insider. And the reputation of Twitter, now X, has shifted in this area since Musk took over, with GLAAD calling it the worst social media platform for LGBTQ+ safety. That said, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, has consistently given Tesla a perfect score on LGBTQ equality in the workplace.
Turkey is also developing its own electric vehicle for the first time — the Togg. It hopes to produce 28,000 units in 2023, Bloomberg reports, and begin exporting the EVs to Scandinavian countries first. A partnership with Tesla could lead to the established EV company helping Turkey with its battery technology.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.