The head of Volkswagen on Thursday defended the company’s move to delay a decision on building a new factory in Turkey until early next year at the latest.

The German car giant announced the move last month after Turkish forces launched an offensive against a part of northern Syria controlled by Kurdish forces.

“As long as people are being killed, we are not laying the foundation stone next to a battlefield,” VW chairman Herbert Diess said in a statement on LinkedIn.

But he admitted that the factory would be in VW’s “economic interest” and the decision was “still open”.

Diess said Volkswagen was torn between demands to make a decision “on the basis of purely economic considerations” and taking “a moral point of view”.

Diess told a press conference last week that planning for a factory amid the tensions would be “completely irresponsible” said a decision would be taken “by the end of this year or early next year at the latest”.

The VW executive said the company would not consider an alternative factory site but would instead look at rearranging production within its existing network if it decided against building the plant in Turkey.

An announcement had been expected on a new factory with an investment of up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) intended to supply the East European market.

The plant would bring 4,000 jobs, according to reports.

Turkish-Kurdish conflict is particularly sensitive for Germany, where around one million Kurds form part of a population of roughly three million people with Turkish nationality or roots.