ECONOMY

Volkswagen says not scouting alternative locations to Turkey

The German carmaker Volkswagen is not actively scouting for an alternative location to Turkey, the company's production chief Andreas Tostmann said Tuesday.

"We are watching the developments. Plans for Turkey are currently on hold. We are not actively looking at alternative locations," Tostmann told journalists.

The car manufacturer announced last week that it had postponed the final decision on whether to build a car factory in Turkey, in the wake of international criticism over Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

Earlier this month, the carmaker established a subsidiary in Turkey's western Manisa province. The unit plans to carry out a wide range of production processes at the new plant, particularly the design, manufacture and assembly of automobiles, trucks and other vehicles, as well as their parts and components. The sale, import and export of these products will also be managed from the Manisa location.

Some officials also said late last month the company was nearing a decision on building a new plant in Turkey. Giving more details on the plans, sources close to the company said the multi-brand factory would cost more than 1 billion euros ($1.11 billion).

Sources said the plant would likely produce 300,000 cars a year, the VW Passat and nearly identical Skoda Superb models, for export to Eastern Europe. It would employ nearly 4,000 in Manisa near İzmir in western Anatolia and construction could start at the end of 2020 with production starting in 2022, they said.

In November 2018, the carmaker had announced its intentions to build a new industrial factory in Eastern Europe. As time went on, multiple rumors concerning who would host VW's new plant hit the headlines. Initially, the company's list of potential hosts included five countries, but the list has since narrowed the choice down to Turkey and Bulgaria as the most likely locations.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), on Oct. 9.

The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.

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