Turkey’s wealth fund eyes strategic investment - managing director

Turkey's sovereign wealth fund (TWF) aims to become the country’s strategic investment arm, strengthening its international profile by becoming a permanent participant of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the fund’s managing director Zafer Sönmez told Daily Sabah on Tuesday. 

Attending the WEF is a part of the fund’s routine efforts to attract international investment, Sabah quoted Sönmez as saying. The director said that with Turkey returning to growth following a recession last year, the future looked bright for the wealth fund, which aimed to ensure the sustainability of this positive trend. 

The Turkey Wealth Fund was established in August 2016 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to increase the value of Turkey’s strategic assets, contribute to economic growth and actively deepen capital markets by introducing new products.

The fund is chaired by Erdoğan, while the Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdoğan’s son-in-law, is the deputy chairman. Critics say there is little oversight of the fund.

Sönmez told Daily Sabah that the fund aimed to introduce a modern and focused style of management to state-run companies, which were run by the Treasury. 

“We aim to transform the TWF into a structure that continuously pays dividends to the Treasury within a timeframe of five years through the right investments," he said.

The total equity of the TWF stood at $33.5 billion and its total assets and equities were worth $198 billion as of Dec. 31, Sönmez told Daily Sabah, citing the findings of an independent audit that has not yet been made public. 

The fund controls public assets including Turkish Airlines, Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and energy sector companies Türkiye Petrolleri and Botaş. Last month it announced an investment of $10 billion for building an oil refinery and petrochemical plant in the southeastern province of Adana.