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Turkey: Elon Musk offers Starlink to solve post-earthquake isolation, the Government: “no, thanks”

Turkey: Elon Musk offers Starlink to solve post-earthquake isolation, the Government: “no, thanks”

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Elon Musk has offered the Turkish government to activate Starlink in record time in the country, re-proposing the winning formula applied during the early stages of the conflict in Ukraine.

 

Starlink terminals were delivered in military convoys to solve the isolation problem caused by the devastation of infrastructure: in the Ukrainian case created by mortars, in the case of Turkey by a violent earthquake of magnitude greater than 7. SpaceX satellites would have restored internet in numerous areas of the country, allowing displaced people to stay in touch with their loved ones and rescuers to coordinate recovery operations.

If last February it was the Ukrainian government itself that mobilized to ask for (and obtain) the providential help of SpaceX’s satellites, this time the roles are reversed: it is Elon Musk who has extended his hand, getting a resounding no in response.

It is difficult to say whether the refusal depends on reasons of national pride (“we have sufficient satellite capabilities”, said Erdogan) or if it is really a matter of retaliation for the help provided by Elon Musk to Ukraine. Turkey, formally a NATO country, has maintained more than cordial relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Elon Musk himself, responding to a user who asked him if he would lend a hand in Turkey, explained that Turkey has not yet provided a license to SpaceX to bring its satellite internet service to the country (“SpaceX can intervene as soon as it receives approval”). There is, therefore, the hypothesis that Ankara fears that the billionaire wants to use the catastrophe as a lock pick to override the normal controls of the telecommunications ministry.

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Having received Turkey’s no, Elon Musk’s attentions focused on Italy. “I know you’ve had some problems recently,” he said, referring to the TIM downtime that left millions of Italians without internet for a long time.

 

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