Volkswagen labour unions vow to block new Turkey plant

The labour unions of German automotive giant Volkswagen have vowed to block plans by the company to build a 1.3 billion-euro ($1.4 billion) plant in Turkey citing the violence caused by the country’s offensive in northeast Syria. 

The company’s labour unions will stand against the plant as long as Turkey continues to “reach its political goals with war and force,” left-wing news site Artı Gerçek on Sunday quoted VW’s global works council chief and supervisory board member Bernd Osterloh as saying in a statement published in the company’s staff newspaper.

“I want to say very clearly: the labour representatives repudiate approval as long as Turkey tries to reach its political goals with war and force,” Osterloh said.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched an offensive in northeast Syria to create a safe zone along its border with Syria that is cleared of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces. The country plans to resettle millions of its Syrian refugees in the region. Even though the operation ended after nine days, as the Turkish government secured separate deals with the United States and Russia for the withdrawal of Kurdish militia from regions along its borders, reports of clashes and civilian deaths continue. 

Volkswagen last month put its Turkey project on hold against the background of the Turkish military offensive in Syria, which has been met with international condemnation.

The company’s supervisory board is scheduled to meet Nov. 15 for the annual review of the manufacturer’s 5-year spending plans, which is expected to address the Turkey plant, Bloomberg reported on Friday.