Dispute with Turkey: Erdogan Minister attacks Volkswagen

The Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs Mustafa Varank.

Rasid Necati Aslim / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Volkswagen had struggled with itself for months, but the decision came last July: The plan to build a plant with 4,000 employees in Turkey in the greater Izmir area was rejected. “From today’s perspective, it is not necessary to build up additional capacities,” was the reason given at the time.

Volkswagen’s decision was a setback for the Turkish government around President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Not least because of the ongoing crisis in the Turkish lira, Erdogan announced last year that he would open his country more to foreign investors. With the Volkswagen plant near Izmir, a prestige project failed in this regard. In response to the rejection from Wolfsburg, the Turkish antitrust authorities initiated investigations.

The Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs, Mustafa Varank, shows how deeply disappointed the Turkish government is about this. He accuses the German car company of having canceled its investment in Turkey for political reasons.

Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs quoted from a letter from VW boss Diess

“We knew that some people politically did not want this investment in Turkey,” the state news agency Anadolu quoted Varank’s statements in front of reporters on Sunday.

According to Anadolu, Varank also quoted at the press conference from a letter that Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is said to have written to the Turkish government to justify the decision against building the plant near Izmir. In it, Diess stated that Volkswagen had decided not to use the factory and would rather upgrade existing production facilities.

According to Anadolu, Varank called this a “political decision” that a global brand shouldn’t make: “If a company is on the stock exchange, then it is a fraud against the investor if decisions are made based on political pressure instead of profit maximization,” he said Economics Minister. “In this case, Volkswagen will lose, not Turkey. They have admitted that they have deceived their investors with political rather than economic decisions. ”

Varank further claimed that Diess had met President Erdogan twice – unsolicited, without an invitation from Turkey.

Volkswagen rejects criticism from Turkey

At the request of, Volkswagen did not want to comment on Diess ‘’s alleged visits to Erdogan, nor on the contents of the letter allegedly sent by Diess‘ to the Turkish government, as quoted by Varank. The group also did not go into detail on the allegations by Varank.

In a statement, Volkswagen simply re-justified its decision not to build a new plant in Turkey.

“The background to the decision is the collapse in growth in the global economy and national economies caused by the Covid19 pandemic, and thus also in global demand for automobiles. From today’s perspective, it is therefore not necessary to build up additional capacities for the time being, ”it says. “The Volkswagen Group is thus taking developments on the international markets into account. For the foreseeable future and until the consequences of the Corona crisis have been overcome, all vehicle projects will therefore be manufactured within the existing network of production facilities. “

jg / kö


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