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Turkish sovereign wealth fund reportedly considering stake in Turk Telekom

Ankara’s sovereign wealth fund may be seeking to acquire a majority stake in Turk Telekom, having already gained control of Turkey’s largest mobile phone operator.
A shop owner selling Turk Telekom phone lines is pictured holding a phone in the northern city of Azaz.
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Turkey’s telecommunication giant Turk Telekom — sold off for $6.55 billion in 2005 in what was Ankara’s largest-ever privatization — appears back on its way to government control via a sovereign wealth fund in a potential deal that would set another re-nationalization milestone in the country’s telecom industry.

Turk Telekom’s privatization ended up in shambles when the buyer of the 55% controlling stake — OTAS, a subsidiary of Oger Telecom, owned by the Lebanese Hariri family and Saudi Telecom — defaulted on a multibillion-dollar loan issued by a consortium of Turkish and foreign banks. The saga, which left Turk Telekom eviscerated and riddled with debt, culminated in creditor banks taking over OTAS’ 55% stake in 2018.

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