Ashgabat Takes Umbrage at MTS

ASHGABAT — Turkmenistan issued a strongly worded riposte to Mobile TeleSystems on Friday after the Russian mobile phone operator warned foreign investors of the "perils" of doing business in the Central Asian state.

Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry said the country had not received its fair share of the "enormous profits" generated by MTS in the country, and that it was entitled not to renew a business agreement that it said had lapsed at the end of 2010. The ministry's statement was a response to a letter sent by MTS to participants in a Singapore road show to promote the oil and gas industry in Turkmenistan.

MTS said in the letter that its experience in Turkmenistan, where its license was suspended in December and has not been renewed, was "a cautionary tale" for those doing business in the reclusive country of 5.4 million people.

MTS had an 85 percent share of Turkmenistan's mobile market until its license was suspended for reasons that the company said, "were never fully justified."

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