The Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s deputy parliamentary group chair, Muhammet Emin Akbaşoğlu, has expressed concern over the possibility of the ruling alliance losing power in the next elections, saying such a situation would put the future of the domestic car project in danger.
“God forbid that if the AKP, People's Alliance loses [in the elections], no one would guess what would happen to our TOGG, i.e. our domestic car. They did not allow us to produce the Devrim cars,” Akbaşoğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency on July 22.
The People's Alliance consists of the AKP and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Akbaşoğlu was referring to Turkey's efforts to produce a domestic car, which have been going for a long time now without any concrete results.
The country's first domestically-produced car project was announced in 1961 called “Devrim” (Revolution), but the project was shelved after one of the prototypes broke down at a public test, leading to a negative press reaction.
The incident resulted in the creation of conspiracy theories that the United States had instructed Turkey to cancel the project, in an attempt to halt any kind of competition with U.S. brand cars.
As part of promises made by the AKP government, Turkey in 2018 launched the Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) -- a consortium of companies aiming to roll out the country's first national car in the final quarter of 2022.
The project has been a long-time goal of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP as a demonstration of the country’s economic power.
Akbaşoğlu also touched upon opposition parties' calls for early elections, saying the elections will be held in 2023 as scheduled.
The AKP deputy argued that the 2023 elections will serve to make Turkey “a powerful” country that is among “super league players through protecting big projects.”
“The period in which the statement of 'A full independent Turkey' was realized was in the period led by Erdoğan. The West does not want to see a Turkey that stands full independent and tall and protects its own rights and interests in the land, air and sea with a full determination,” Akbaşoğlu said.