Apple execs met with Turkish president to talk iPad education deal

iPad mini promo (users 006)

We learned in August 2011 that the Turkish government was looking to place an order for 15 million tablets over the next three years in a bold educational project known as FATIH.

The project was supposed to put tablets in over 40,000 Turkish schools and was initially thought to be worth an estimated $1.7 billion.

The country’s president even visited Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters last May to discuss tablets and education. We haven’t heard much regarding the initiative since, until today’s report published by a Turkish blog which claims that several Apple executives met with Turkish president Abdullah Gül to talk the country’s tablet project, now estimated at $4.5 billion…

Turkish blog Elma Dergisi (via MacRumors) has it that one of the executives who attended today’s meeting with the Turkish president is vice president for education John Couch.

The crux of the report: as much as Apple would like to sell thousands of tablets to Turkish schools, negotiations are still underway.

Here’s the official photo via the President’s PR office.

Apple execs meeting with Turkish president

Among the iPad, education and other topics, the men apparently talked about an issue with the layout of the older Turkish “F-keyboard” on iOS devices resulting in several keys being located in the wrong positions.

Apple is hiring staff for Turkey’s first retail store in Istanbul and has recently launched the iTunes Store in Turkey and other countries so Turkish schools will have plenty of content to boot should the government choose to buy iPads.

Apple typically offers volume and educational discounts, but these are not as deep as those offered by Samsung and other vendors.

That said, even with the iPad’s commanding lead of the tablet space, any deal involving iPads remains uncertain until someone from the Turkish government signs on the dotted line.