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Apple execs and Turkish president in talks to supply 15 million students with iPads

With so much attention given to Apple’s expansion plans in China, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the company which brought us the iPhone and iPad would actually very much like to dominate the mobile market of not just Asia’s most populous nation, but of all countries on the planet. It may take forever, it may never happen. But Tim Cook and his team of tech talent will try, over time, to drive Apple towards that goal.

As part of this push, the company is apparently in the midst of trying to secure a deal to supply Turkey’s 15 million school children with tablets – a deal that could be worth as much as $4.5 billion.

According to a MacRumors report (via Turkish blog Elma Dergisi), Apple’s vice president for education, John Couch, together with a bunch of other executives from the tech giant, traveled to meet with Turkish president Abdullah Gül over the weekend to discuss the Turkish government’s proposed initiative to supply tablets to students over the next four years.

MacRumors said that Apple has “reportedly been pushing for the contract, but negotiations are said to still be underway.”

It’s not known how much progress, if any, was made at the meeting, though a photo (below) posted by the Turkish president’s office shows both Couch and Gül smiling broadly at each other, which surely can’t be a bad thing as far as the sealing of a multi-billion-dollar contract is concerned.

Turkey, a country with around 80 million inhabitants, aims to become one of the world’s top ten largest economies by 2023. In 2011 its economy was Europe’s fastest growing, though it experienced a dip in growth last year.

According to MacRumors, Gül visited Apple’s Cupertino HQ last May to talk about many of the same subjects discussed at last weekend’s meeting. Apple obviously sees potential in the Turkish market – besides the report of the possible iPad contract, the company is apparently already hiring staff for forthcoming retail stores in the country. And in December it launched its iTunes store there, bringing to the nation’s online population its huge catalog of digital content, which includes a selection of music and movies from local artists and filmmakers.

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