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AA 08/11/17: Erdogan, SpaceX CEO discuss new Turkish satellites

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Elon Musk discuss Turkish communications satellite fleet Turksat.


The chief executive officer of American aerospace company Space X arrived in Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the launch of two new Turkish satellites, the presidential spokesman said.

“Elon Musk came to Turkey to discuss the launch of Turksat 5A and 5B satellites,” Ibrahim Kalin told Anadolu Agency.

He was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara.

The hour-long closed-door meeting was also attended by the Turkish Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu and the Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan.

On Thursday, discussions are expected over a deal with Turkey’s chosen satellite-manufacturing Airbus Defence and Space firm, of which Space-X is a sub-supplier, Kalin added.

Turkey hopes to send Turksat 5A into space by 2020 and Turksat 5B by 2021.

Another satellite Turksat 6A will also start operations in the coming years, pushing the number of Turkey’s active communications satellites to six, he said.

Kalin added that the long-waited project for the country's first domestically produced car announced by Erdogan, last week, was discussed with Musk, who also heads American automaker Tesla.

“Elon Musk's company is actually a major sustainable energy company. So, we talked about topics such as new generation batteries, solar energy, and wind energy,” he said.

“We also discussed issues such as how to overcome traffic problems in metropolitan areas, digging tunnels, having underground traffic”, Kalin added.

Five automotive supplier firms -- Anadolu Group, BMC, Kiraca Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding -- will jointly manufacture Turkey's first car, Erdogan said, adding that he expects the car’s prototype will be ready in 2019, with sales to follow in 2021.

Turkey made its first efforts to produce its own car, called Devrim (Revolution), in 1961, but it never made it past the prototype stage.

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