Cukurova nears Turkcell financing deal with Turkish partner-sources
* Government wants Turkcell to stay in Turkish hands
* Deal expected to be reached with Turkish partner
* Shareholder dispute has left Turkcell hamstrung
By Asli Kandemir and Orhan Coskun
ISTANBUL, June 10 (Reuters) - Turkey's Cukurova Holding is close to securing financing from a local partner to recover a disputed stake in the country's biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell, three sources close to the matter said on Tuesday.
Cukurova and Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, have been fighting for 7 years for control of Turkcell, choking decision-making at the firm and preventing the payment of dividends.
The Turkish government is keen for Turkcell to remain in Turkish hands and has been pushing for a local corporate partner to help Cukurova raise the $1.6 billion it has been ordered to pay to recover the stake, the sources said.
"Both Cukurova and Turkey will be unhappy if Cukurova fails to get the stake back. It's unavoidable for a new player to be involved. This will be acceptable to both Cukurova and the Turkish government," one of the sources said.
"The government does not want to be dealing with a financial creditor. There will be a strategic creditor involved ... Cukurova would not have to put additional owners' equity in this financing package," the source said. Continuación...