updated 04:22 am EST, Wed February 5, 2014
President, Prime Minister ask for technology part investment, get promise of 'unique' Apple Store
Following on from reports yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook held a high-level meeting with Turkey's President Abdullah Gül regarding the country's FATIH initiative, a potentially $4 billion deal to supply Turkey's students with iPads. Also discussed at the meeting was improving iOS keyboard support of the Turkish language, adding more content to Turkey's recently-opened iTunes stores, and further localization of support, such as through Siri.
Cook (right) meets with President Gül (left)
President Gül called on Apple to invest in Turkey's technology park initiative, which would take the form of offices or R&D centers in the country. This, said the president, would help the public to see Apple as invested in the country's long-term future rather than just trying to make money off it today. While not requiring such investment for the larger FATIH deal to go through, an Apple investment in the technology park or other initiatives would be helpful in fending off competitors to the iPad proposal. Other reports have suggested that Turkey is hoping for expanded Apple service centers in the country along with consideration for future assembly work and other facilities.
Cook did not publicly commit to any investment during the meeting, but did tell the press in Instanbul that the company will be opening a "flagship" store in the country's capital in April, featuring a design and features not seen elsewhere. He described the future store, which is already well under way, as being "unique" among Apple Store designs. The store is to be located in the Zorlu Center in Instanbul, and will be the first official Apple Store in the country.
The FATIH plan is a bold initiative to bring Turkey's educational system forward to Western standards, providing up to 15 million tablets for Turkey's students at all grade levels. Apple representatives, lead by Education VP John Couch, have been working on the deal for over a year. While predominately Muslim in population, Turkey's democratic and secular constitutional republic government has allowed it to thrive economically and enjoy respect as a bridge between modern Europe and the ancient civilizations of the Middle East.