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Iran Press TV

Turkey mobilizing funds for megaprojects

Iran Press TV

Mon Feb 6, 2017 6:28PM

Turkey says it is moving billions of dollars in state assets to a sovereign wealth fund in what appears to be a plan by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to finance a series of ambitious infrastructure projects.

The media reported that the assets being transferred to the sovereign wealth fund range from wholly state-owned Ziraat Bank, the government's minority shareholding in flag carrier Turkish Airlines as well as smaller firms like the state tea-making company.

Also included in the transfer would be the government's stakes in privatized companies including Turkish Airlines.

"The existing management and business plans of the companies will continue, as will cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, including international financial institutions," the government announced in a statement as quoted by AFP.

Turkish Airlines was transformed into a major international player after privatization from 2004-2006. It is usually seen as the country's biggest exporter and best-known corporate brand.

Also being moved are the shares in lender Halkbank, where the government has 51.11 percent, the stake of around seven percent in Turk Telekom, and the stake of 73.6 percent in the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange.

Several other key state-owned enterprises including natural gas distributor BOTAS, the PTT Turkish post office and the state tea producer are also being moved to the wealth fund.

The fund was established in August 2016 but this is the first time that significant businesses have been transferred under its control.

It was already controlling horse racing and lottery assets.

Erdogan fondly refers to such plans as his "crazy projects" aimed at transforming infrastructure to create a "new Turkey".

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