African firm, Turkcell in spat over Iran’s market

African firm, Turkcell in spat over Iran’s market

African firm, Turkcell in spat over Iran’s market

Turkcell’s general Manager Süreyya Ciliv is seen giving a speech at a company meeting in Antalya late last month.

Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile operator, has said it will remain silent over the allegations of a South African mobile telephone operator, in an e-mailed statement to the Daily News.

South African mobile telephone operator MTN said Feb. 3 that Turkcell had threatened to sue it in a U.S. court for alleged corruption involving a deal in Iran, according to a report by Agence-France Presse (AFP).

MTN said Turkcell had accused the South African group of bribing South African government officials and pressing it to endorse Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for rights to an Iranian GSM mobile operating license, the report said.

“Turkcell has informed MTN that it believes it has a claim against MTN and its relevant subsidiary, arising out of the award of (Iran’s) second GSM license, based on alleged violations of United States laws, and has indicated an intention to bring such a claim before a United States court,” an MTN statement said,
However, Turkcell noted that it had won the second GSM tender on Sept. 2, 2004 in Iran, but the operating license was awarded to MTN Group. It added that the suits, which were litigated by Turkcell for damages, are continuing at international arbitration courts.

A sign of goodwill

“Talks between Turkcell and MTN have been in progress about the subjects presented in the press statements by MTN for a while now. Turkcell will not make any statement about the subject until the talks are finalized as a sign of goodwill,” Turkcell said.

MTN owns a 49-percent stake in the Iranian mobile telecoms company Irancell, which holds the operating license. MTN said it would name a panel to look into the allegations, led by retired British judge Lord Leonard Hoffmann and including non-executive members of its board.

“Irrespective of the validity of Turkcell’s claims, the very fact that such allegations have been made is serious,” AFP quoted MTN chairman Cyril Ramaphosa as saying.