Elon Musk gestures as he attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center in Paris, France, on June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Image gets license rights

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build a Tesla factory in Turkey, the Turkish Communications Directorate said on Monday.

It quoted Musk as saying that several Turkish suppliers were already working with Tesla and that Turkey was among the top candidates for its next factory.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency reported that Erdogan and Musk were speaking during a meeting at the Turkish House, a skyscraper near the United Nations in New York.

Erdogan is visiting the United States to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Communications Directorate said that Erdogan also said during the meeting that Turkey was open to cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence and Starlink, the satellite internet project of Musk’s SpaceX.

It quoted Musk as saying that SpaceX wants to work with the Turkish authorities to obtain the necessary license to provide Starlink space services in Turkey.

She also said that Erdogan invited Musk to attend the Turkish Technovest space and technology festival in Izmir at the end of September, and Musk was quoted as saying that he would be happy to attend.

Musk is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in California on Monday. Musk posted on the social media platform X that their talks will focus on artificial intelligence technology.

Tesla in August expressed interest in building a factory in India to produce a low-cost electric car.

Tesla currently has six factories and is building a seventh in Mexico in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, as part of the automaker’s push to expand its global presence.

Musk said in May that Tesla may choose a location for a new factory by the end of this year.

Tesla shares have risen 123% so far this year, and the automaker said on Saturday that it had produced its 5 millionth car.

In addition to running Tesla, Musk also bought X, formerly known as Twitter, for $44 billion in 2022.

While Musk describes himself as a champion of absolute freedom of expression, he has complied with some Turkish government demands to censor content in the country. In other cases, the social media company objected to Turkish court orders.

(Reporting by Chandni Shah in Bengaluru and Darren Butler in Istanbul – Preparing by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Additional reporting by Michael Derby in New York; Editing by Lisa Shoemaker and Jamie Freed

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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