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    Turk opposition wants PM censured over media sale

    Hurriyet English with wires
    14.05.2008 - 12:43 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkey's main opposition party submitted on Wednesday a censure motion against Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan to parliament over the sale of Turkey's Sabah-ATV to Calik Group. The oppposition party accuses Erdogan of abusing his authority during the tender. (UPDATED)

    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 $1.1 billion.   

    It 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 banks debts.

    The CHP said the transaction was financed by state-owned banks, with no other details available, and questioned the identity of the foreign investor.

    Calik informed that the Qatar-based media company, Lusail International Media Company, had purchased 25 percent of shares in Turkuvaz. 

    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, Hurriyet daily earlier reported. 

    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. 

    Lawmakers will vote on the motion in the coming days. But it has little chance of passing as Erdogan’s party has a majority in Parliament.

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