Turkish groups slam PM over ATV sale

The ongoing grumbles about the sale of media conglomerate ATV-Sabah continue. Turkey’s main opposition party has now tabled a parliamentary motion to censure the prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan. The motion claims he exceeded his authority.
The motion, signed by Republican People's Party (CHP) MPs Hakki Suha Okay, Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Kemal Anadol, was submitted to the Parliament Speaker's Office against Erdogan on grounds of his alleged interference in the tender for the sale of ATV-Sabah and abusing his authority on behalf of the group.

The shares of Turkey's second largest media company, Sabah and ATV, transferred last month to the media company, Turkuvaz Radyo Televizyon, a subsidiary of the Calik Group, following the cash transfer of $1.1bn. Hurryet newspaper says ATV-Sabah once belonged to a business group whose assets were seized by a government agency after a bank the group owned collapsed. The government then sold the media group to Calik managed by Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, to recuperate some of the bank’s debts.

The opposition CHP party argues that the transaction was financed by state-owned banks, with no other details available, and questioned the identity of the foreign investor. New owners Calik informed the authorities that the Qatar-based media company, Lusail International Media Company, had purchased 25% of the shares in Turkuvaz, the new holding company.

The outline of the partnership deal between the Qatar Investment Authority and the Calik Group was drawn up in January, when Ahmet Calik, the chairman of the group, attended the Syrian visit of President Abdullah Gul, who introduced him to Qatar Emir Hamad bin Khalifa.

It also added that Calik had accompanied both Gul in February and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in April during their visits to Qatar. The Qatar Investment Authority decided to establish a separate company to invest in ATV-Sabah a couple of months prior to the sale.