Türk Telekom halted telecom services at coup plotter locations on July 15: CEO

Türk Telekom halted telecom services at coup plotter locations on July 15: CEO

Ahmet Can - ISTANBUL
Türk Telekom halted telecom services at coup plotter locations on July 15: CEO Türk Telekom immediately deactivated telecommunication services in locations across Turkey where coup plotters were very active on the night of the July 15 failed coup attempt, the group’s CEO has said, adding that the company would keep making investments in the country as it promised before. 

The headquarters of the company in Istanbul and the capital Ankara were raided by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which has been blamed for the failed coup attempt, on the night of July 15. One Türk Telekom employee died that night, and afterwards a number of high level executives of the company were detained. 

Türk Telekom Group CEO Rami Aslan said they formed an emergency support team and announced a high alert situation as soon as they learned about the coup attempt.
“We worked in complete connection with the Information Technologies and Communications Board [BTK] and the Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry… We immediately deactivated the telecommunications services in a number of key points where the coup plotters were active, such as the Presidency of General Staff, the Akıncı Air Base and the Eskişehir Air Base, among others, in line with the information from the BTK and the ministry. The data speed was also accelerated in the places where security forces were needed,” he said. 

Noting that some 80 percent of the telecommunications traffic was provided through the Türk Telekom infrastructure, Aslan said: “Some of our employees needed to work on the job, but it was only possible to remotely access the systems. We managed to do this… There was not even one second of stoppage in telecommunication connections across Turkey.”

“Türk Telekom played a significant role in making the coup attempt fail,” he added. 

Aslan noted the Turkish people showed how they were determined to protect democratic rule.

“We will keep our promise to make 10 billion Turkish Liras of investment in Turkey,” he added. 

Two senior executives ‘chose to leave’

Two senior Türk Telekom executives who were summoned by prosecutors to give testimony in connection with the July 15 failed coup attempt have stepped down from their positions. 

The company said Consumer Business Unit CEO Erkan Akdemir and Coşkun Şahin, the vice president responsible for technology, decided to leave their positions, in an emailed statement on Aug. 12. 

Aslan said it was their decision to leave the company after they were released from being detained for 18 days. 

“I wish they would leave the effects of this difficult process behind,” he added. 

He also noted that hiring and layoff processes were being undertaken in coordination with authorities. 

“We have so far ceased the job contracts of 290 people. This might be a big number, but is actually not proportionally as Türk Telekom employs more than 35,000 people. We must do what must be done if any of our employees do the wrong thing,” added Aslan.