08 Sep 2017 - 22:48
Turkish wealth fund to be reorganised: Erdogan
Ankara: President Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday Turkey would reorganise its $40 bn sovereign wealth fund after dismissing the organisation’s chairman over its failure to meet targets since it was founded a year ago.
Mehmet Bostan was removed as chairman of the fund as of Thursday and the head of the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange, Himmet Karadag, was named as acting chairman, a senior official earlier told Reuters.
“The desired goals and progress were not achieved in the wealth fund,” Erdogan told reporters ahead of a foreign trip. “We need to reorganise the wealth fund and we will take that step after the Kazakhstan visit.”
The president said he discussed the issue with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who is responsible for the fund, and they “decided it could not go on this way”.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach Bostan or Karadag for comment.
The fund was set up last year by the government to develop and increase the value of Turkey’s strategic assets and provide resources for investment. Historically, sovereign wealth funds have been set up with oil producers such as Norway or Gulf states, using money from energy exports for investment. But Turkey imports almost all of its energy and some economists have said the government could better spend money paying down a national debt that runs at roughly 30 percent of economic output.
The government has transferred stakes worth billions of dollars of state assets, including stakes in flag carrier Turkish Airlines, major banks and fixed-line operator Turk Telekom.
The government has said it wanted the fund to manage $200bn in assets as soon as possible. One senior official toldReuters this year that the fund could be used to secure financing for major infrastructure projects. Ratings agency S&P has said the fund was more akin to a national development bank,