Sunday, December 27, 2009

Turkey - Media and Telecoms regulators to be merged - report

[today's zaman] Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım has said the telecommunications sector’s two regulatory authorities -- the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and the Information Technologies and Communications Board (BTK) -- are likely to merge for the sake of efficiency, noting, however, that this may require a constitutional amendment since RTÜK is defined within the Constitution.

At a press conference in Ankara reviewing developments in the telecommunications industry over the past year and sharing his outlook regarding the coming year, Yıldırım said the government may take steps to combine the two regulatory bodies under the same roof. The transmission channels of data, audio and video are different from each other but are rapidly converging, the minister argued. This convergence would make combining the supervisory and regulatory structures into a single body feasible, he added. However, this may take a long time since making an amendment to the Constitution can be like climbing up a gum tree, Yıldırım argued.

When asked if the state-owned stake in Türk Telekom might be sold with a block sale method, he said the shares are likely to be offered to the public, but at the moment it is not possible to accurately estimate how many of these shares will be sold and when. “It depends on the trade cycle. We have to wait for the conditions that will be of greatest benefit to the public,” he argued.

When asked if a recently prepared bill on the General Directorate of Highways (KGM) contained premises regarding the privatization of Turkey’s highways, the minister said: “As a consequence of a set of recent amendments to the Public Administration and Control Law, some alterations to the KGM Law were deemed necessary. The bill that we recently sent to Parliament only aims to make these changes in the current law. It has nothing to do directly with the privatization of highways.”

Yıldırım discussed a bill on facilitating the adoption of a system that will allow all bureaucratic operations to be conducted via an electronic environment, known as the e-state. He said the preparation of the bill had been completed and the draft will be sent to the Cabinet in a few weeks. After receiving approval from the Cabinet, the bill will be sent to Parliament. Yıldırım defined the bill as an attempt to harmonize the current system with European Union standards. “The obstacles stemming from old institutional laws will be removed if this bill can obtain approval in Parliament,” he said.

The bill envisages the solution of all legal disputes regarding e-state applications under the surveillance of the Prime Ministry and the development of all software and provision of technical services by Turksat A.Ş.

Regulatory telecommunications authorities may merge

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