Group wants Turkcell shares back

Group wants Turkcell shares back

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Group wants Turkcell shares back

Mehmet Emin Karamehmet says his partners in Turkcell ‘know nothing about’ doing business in Turkey. AA photo

Çukurova Holding wants Turkcell’s shares back in order to preserve the Turkish identity of the country’s largest mobile operator, the group’s board chairman said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.

Breaking his almost 10-year silence, Mehmet Emin Karamehmet portrayed his fight over Turkcell with Sweden’s TeliaSonera as a campaign to keep the mobile phone company Turkish. “I want my shares back,” he said, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal.

Detailing Çukurova’s struggle to keep control of Turkcell since 2005, the report said Karamehmet has had boardroom clashes with both TeliaSonera and Altimo, who have accused Çukurova of sitting on more than $3 billion that could be used to expand abroad.

The government has tried to prevent TeliaSonera and Altimo from taking full control of Turkey’s largest cellphone provider, but both companies say they are committed to expanding the provider and that it would remain a Turkish company regardless of who owns it.

“They’re only interested in how to get these shares,” Karamehmet said while denying that Turkcell had blocked a move to invest abroad. “I don’t believe in their management style. I don’t believe they are entrepreneurs and I don’t believe that they know anything about Turkey.”

Çukurova owns 54 percent of Turkey’s mobile phone market through Turkcell. The group is also the founder and owner of Genel Energy – northern Iraq’s largest oil producer, which recently merged with Vallares and started trading at the London Stock Exchange.

Digiturk, Turkey’s most successful TV-satellite company, Baytur Construction, which has $1.5 billion in contracts, as well as daily Akşam and the Show TV entertainment channel, are also owned by Çukurova