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Turkish ambassador: Saab CEO called us

Turkey's ambassador in Stockholm on Tuesday denied reports that her country was interested in purchasing Saab Automobile, claiming Saab CEO Victor Muller had sought a meeting in a last ditch effort to save the company from bankruptcy.

Turkish ambassador: Saab CEO called us

Shortly after the Vänersborg District Court approved Saab’s bankruptcy petition on Monday afternoon, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported that Turkey had been in contact with the Swedish government and Saab management to express its interest in purchasing the beleaguered Swedish automaker.

While Turkey’s ambassador in Stockholm, Zergün Korutürk confirmed that she and other embassy officials met with Muller on December 14th, she explained that the meeting came at the request of the Saab CEO.

“The CEO of Saab came to see me at his own request at the embassy residence,” Korutürk told The Local.

She explained that during the meeting, Muller, referenced contacts he had in Turkey which had signaled to him that the country was interested in launching production of a Turkish automobile brand.

“He thought Saab would be a good choice” to help kick-start Turkey’s domestic car production plans, Korutürk said of Muller’s proposal.

“I told him I would inform the authorities in my country of all that he had told me.”

Korutürk explained that Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made no secret of his hope for Turkey to have a purely domestic auto brand.

She emphasized, however, that there are no negotiations underway between Turkey and Saab regarding a possible purchase.

“There’s nothing more I can say because nothing else happened,” said Korutürk.

Meanwhile, Chinese automaker Youngman, whose decision to pull out of a deal to purchase Saab precipitated the Swedish carmaker’s bankruptcy, is reportedly still interested in purchasing the Saab’s assets.

According to Sveriges Radio (SR), a delegation from Youngman is set to travel to Saab headquarters in Trollhättan in western Sweden as early as Wednesday.

Bankruptcy administrator Hans Berqgvist confirmed that he had been in touch with Youngman and hopes to meet with representatives from the Chinese company before Christmas.

Youngman is interested in keeping Saab’s Trollhättan plant open, but with production on a smaller scale than previously, the company’s Swedish spokesperson, Johan Nylen with the Baker McKenzie law firm, told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI).

However, any further production wouldn’t likely start for at least two years, as it would take that long to develop a new model.

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TURKEY

Turkish government accused of trying to silence critics with arrest of Swedish writer

Charges against a Swedish-Turkish writer who was arrested while holidaying in Spain are an attempt by the Turkish government to silence its critics, non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claims.

Turkish government accused of trying to silence critics with arrest of Swedish writer
File photo not related to the story. Photo: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Hamza Yalcin was arrested on Tuesday in Barcelona following the issue of an international arrest warrant from Turkey, who accuse him of organizing terrorist acts.

Since moving to Sweden in 1984, Yalcin has written for regime-critical newspaper Odak Dergisi, who according to RSF has angered President Erdogan in Ankara.

“This is an attempt from Erdogan to extend his power outside of the country's borders. He wants to show that he can reach critical voices even if they do not exist in the country. It's an abuse of international police cooperation that risks having major consequences,” RSF Sweden president Jonathan Lundqvist said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Swedish writer wanted by Turkey arrested in Spain

The organization insists that Spanish authorities should dismiss the Turkish accusations and release the 59-year-old to travel home to Sweden.

If he is sent to Turkey then he risks being tried along with over 100 other journalists who the Turkish government has accused of similar crimes, according to RSF. Turkey is ranked 155 out of the 180 countries in the RSF's Press Freedom Index.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry (UD) has asked to meet Yalcin.

“We want to have consular access, and both our embassy in Madrid and our consulate in Barcelona are in contact with the Spanish authorities and have asked for consular access,” UD communications officer Gunnar Vrang told TT.

Yalcin is the second Swedish national to be arrested on Turkey's orders in less then a month. Sweden's Foreign Minister criticized Turkey in July after IT consultant Ali Gharavi was jailed in the country along with several human rights activists for allegedly aiding a terror group. The Swedish government understood that he was there to attend a seminar about freedom of the internet.

READ ALSO: Sweden slams Turkey for jailing activist