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Watchdog to Decide On Turkcell

ISTANBUL — Turkey's telecom watchdog said Tuesday that it would have to approve any change in control of Turkcell, a wireless carrier co-owned by Alfa Group.

The announcement came a day ahead of a British court ruling that could leave the firm with no major Turkish shareholder.

The Privy Council was expected to rule Wednesday in the long-running shareholder dispute between Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, one of Turkey's most powerful businessmen, and Altimo, the telecom arm of Alfa Group.

Should it rule in Altimo's favor, the Russian company could be awarded Karamehmet's 13.8 percent stake in Turkcell.

"In the royalty contact signed between our institution and Turkcell, it says any kind of share transfer resulting in a change of control requires an approval from our institution," Turkish telecom watchdog BTK said.

(Reuters)

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