TeliaSonera takes legal action against Turkcell Chairman

TeliaSonera has for years argued that the number of independent board members in Turkcell has to increase in order for Turkcell to follow requirements by the Turkish Capital Markets Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such actions have however been blocked by Cukurova and the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Colin J. Williams.


TeliaSonera has lately put forward formal requests to the Board of Turkcell to add the possibility for Turkcell’s shareholders to address the board composition at the upcoming Annual Shareholders’ Meeting (AGM). The right for a minority shareholder, with more than 5 percent of the shares in a listed company, to address an issue at the AGM is a basic and clear right under Turkish law. TeliaSonera has now, through the actions of a minority of the Turkcell board members, been denied this legal right. The actions are clear violations of the law. It is particularly troubling that the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Colin J Williams, who is the only independent board member and whose vote would have altered the Board’s decision, has acted against the law.


“Following the law is a minimum requirement for a Chairman of a major listed international company. We also believe that issues regarding corporate governance should be openly discussed and decided by all shareholders at the AGM and not be blocked behind closed doors by a minority of the Board,” says Cecilia Edström, Senior Vice President and Head of Group Communications.


“We take the fact that Mr. Colin J. Williams has been blocking certain vital corporate governance issues as evidence that he is not acting as an independent member and impartial Chairman of the Board of Turkcell. He should therefore be removed from his duties, in order not to cause the company and its shareholders any further damage,” Cecilia Edström continues.


TeliaSonera AB discloses the information provided herein pursuant to the Swedish Securities Markets Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instrument Trading Act. The information was submitted for publication at 08:20 a.m. CET on 24 March 2011.