Musk meets Turkey’s Erdogan as leaders gather in New York

Musk meets Turkey’s Erdogan as leaders gather in New York
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, center, exits the Turkish House after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, US, on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. Photographer: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk visited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, spending about 45 minutes discussing artificial intelligence and a potential Tesla factory.

Video footage showed Musk entering Turkish House, a skyscraper hosting diplomatic and cultural offices, near the United Nations headquarters with a child believed to be his son. Images from the meeting on Sunday posted on X, the Musk-owned platform formerly known as Twitter, showed the boy sitting on Musk’s lap as he talked to Erdogan.

The two met as world leaders including President Joe Biden began to gather for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Also in attendance this year will be Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose government has relied on Musk’s Starlink satellite service to repel Russian military forces that invaded more than a year ago.

According to Erdogan’s office, the Turkish president invited Musk to open a Tesla factory there. Musk’s SpaceX has also been working with Turkey’s space program to launch communications satellites. Turkey is also seeking help to develop batteries for its first homegrown electric vehicle, the Togg.

Erdogan’s office also said he wanted to bring his Starlink service to the country. 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. Erdogan has called that a critical milestone for collecting intelligence that may be used for military purposes.

Erdogan has been encouraging development of a self-sufficient defense industry, including production of unmanned combat aircraft, to support Turkey’s military in a region mired in conflict.


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