Turkish government resolves snag over new Telekom administration

Published June 29th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The Turkish government reached a compromise Thursday, June 28, on the appointment of a new executive board for Turk Telekom, a key move for the release of the next tranche of multi-billion dollar aid from the International Monetary Fund, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said. 

 

"The problem was resolved. May it be beneficial to the country, it is a good result," Ecevit told reporters. 

 

The compromise marked the end of weeks-long discord between Economy Minister Kemal Dervis and Transport Minister Enis Oksuz on the composition of the executive board of the Turk Telekom, which the government has put up for privatization. 

 

Under IMF demands, Dervis favored a "professional and competent" administration with no political affiliations in a bid to curb political influence on the country's dominant telecommunications operator. 

 

Oksuz, from the coalition's far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) argued for keeping some old members on the new board and the right to determine the majority of the new names for the seven-member board. 

 

The disagreement turned into a crisis on Wednesday when the Telekom's general assembly had to postpone its meeting for the fourth time for lack of an executive board. 

 

Dervis cancelled a planned two-week trip aboard to resolve the issue ahead of a July 3 meeting of the IMF's board of directors. 

 

Under the new deal, the MHP will appoint four of the executive board members while the Treasury, controlled by Dervis, will name two members and the prime minister's office the remaining one member, according to the NTV news channel. 

 

The appointment of a new Telekom administration was one of the four IMF demands for the release of $1.5 billion from its aid package to help Turkey drag its fragile economy out of crisis in the aftermath of severe financial turmoil. 

 

Ecevit's three-party coalition has fulfilled three of the IMF demands, which were the adoption in parliament of a supplementary budget, a law for the dissolution of a loss-making state bank and a law to liberalize the state-controlled tobacco sector. 

 

In order to overcome a cash crunch, Turkey floated the currency in February, causing the Turkish lira to lose about 40 percent of its value against the dollar and disrupting an IMF-backed anti-inflation plan in place since December 1999. 

 

To put the battered economy on track, the government has begun implementing a tough program of reforms, which received multi-billion-dollar support from the IMF and the World Bank. — (AFP) 

 

© Agence France Presse 

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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