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Turkcell Chairman Rejects TeliaSonera’s Board-Change Stance

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmeteleri AS Chairman Colin Williams said shareholder TeliaSonera AB’s position on possible board changes at Turkey’s biggest mobile-phone operator is “baseless.”

TeliaSonera made inaccurate statements about Williams’s stance on governance issues, “including the proposed increase in the number of independent directors on the Turkcell board and proposals to change the current board’s composition,” Williams said in an e-mailed statement today. “I will strongly contest those allegations, as well as any suggestions that I have acted unlawfully.”

TeliaSonera, which has an effective 38 percent stake in Turkcell, said March 24 that it plans to sue Williams on the grounds that he has refused to allow it to address shareholders at Turkcell’s general meeting scheduled for April 21. Its attempts to add independent board members have been blocked by Williams and controlling shareholder Cukurova Holding, the Swedish company said last week.

Cecilia Edstroem, a TeliaSonera spokeswoman, declined to comment when reached by Bloomberg News today.

Legal disputes among Turkcell’s three major shareholders -- TeliaSonera, Russia’s Altimo and Turkey’s Cukurova -- over control of the company and regulatory price cuts have hurt the Istanbul-based operator’s performance, TeliaSonera Chief Executive Officer Lars Nyberg said Feb. 12, according to the Milliyet newspaper. TeliaSonera plans to seek control of Turkcell at the shareholder meeting, Milliyet reported.

Turkcell fell 22 kurus, or 2.3 percent, to 9.30 liras at the close of trading in Istanbul, its lowest price in a week.

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