TODAY’S – Turkcell subsidiaries to be bought by pro-gov’t firms, daily claims

Turkcell subsidiaries to be bought by pro-gov’t firms, daily claimsThe board of directors of mobile phone operator Turkcell, whose members include figures close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), is alleged to be preparing to sell some of the companyand#39s high-earning subsidiaries to firms close to the AK Party and replace personnel with new recruits who are affiliated with the party, a daily reported on Monday.According to the Taraf daily, in a meeting to be held on March 26, Turkcelland#39s board will vote to sell some company subsidiaries at home and abroad that generate high revenues and replace 10 percent of the current staff with individuals who have ties to the AK Party.

It was also alleged that employees in Turkcelland#39s aertising department have been replaced with new hires in order to ensure that the companyand#39s aertisements are published primarily in pro-government dailies.Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, announced in January that most of the aertising submitted by state bodies is published in pro-government newspapers.

For example, state enterprises and companies that are partly owned by the Treasury — such as Avea, Halkbank, Turk Telekom and Emlak Konut andndash had 21 times more aertisements in the pro-government Sabah daily than in the Zaman daily, which has a circulation of an average of 1 million a day, threefold that of Sabah, in 2014.Since 2007, Turkcell has been at the center of a legal battle for control by its partners, and their dispute has left Turkcell unable to agree on the composition of its board and unable to distribute dividends.

In 2013, major shareholders Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera, Russian Altimo and Turkish ukurova Holding failed to agree on the configuration of the Turkcell board or to pay dividends, a division within the board which Turkeyand#39s Capital Markets Board (SPK)ited as its reason for the appointment of two Turkcell board members affiliated with the ruling party.Following the SPK appointments to the companyand#39s board, seven senior Turkcell executives, including former CEO Sureyya Ciliv, resigned from their posts without citing any specific reason for their departure.

But rumors circulated that the former Turkcell executives were not happy with the government appointments to the board and its increased political control of the troubled Turkcell.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman