Turkcell feels Washington heat over Syrian purchase

Despite rigorous denials from the Turkish cell phone operator Turkcell, the U.S. Treasury Department is thought to have 'alerted' the company to its displeasure with Turkcell's plan to purchase the leading Syrian mobile operator Syriatel. At the heart of Washington's problem is the high-profile sanctions it has imposed on the majority owner of Syriatel, Rami Makhlouf, who stands to receive an estimated payment of close to US$1 billion in cash if the sale to Turkcell goes ahead.

The U.S. sanctions on Syria explicitly state that no U.S. citizen can do business with Makhlouf--a problem for several Turkcell executives who have American citizenship and hold shares in the company. Those close to the deal believe it will still go ahead this month, helped by Turkcell negotiating a lower price following the sanctions on Makhlouf. However, Gulf mobile operator Zain has said it is also interested in buying Syriatel. 

For more on this story:
- read Today's Zaman

Related story:
Turkcell flourishes, while Vodafone complains. Turkcell story

Suggested Articles

Wireless operators can provide 5G services with spectrum bands both above and below 6 GHz—but that doesn't mean that all countries will let them.

Here are the stories we’re tracking today.

The 5G Mobile Network Architecture research project will implement two 5G use cases in real-world test beds.