ANKARA Foreign banks and sovereign wealth funds are interested in working with Turkey's newly formed wealth fund, which is likely to make its first transaction this year, Turkish Finance Minister Naci Agbal told Reuters on Wednesday.
The government said this week its stakes in Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS), major banks and fixed-line operator Turk Telekom (TTKOM.IS) have been transferred to the fund, which was set up last year to help finance big-ticket infrastructure projects.
"International investment, consultancy firms, banks and investment funds are very interested in the Turkish wealth fund, they are working on cooperating with us," Agbal said in an interview.
"The wealth fund will be activated swiftly to create funds for Turkey's investments, and it may make its first transaction this year," Agbal said.
The transfer of assets to the fund would mean that 1 billion lira ($267 million) of budget revenue would be lost he said, adding that budget discipline would still be maintained.
Agbal said additional assets held by the government may be brought under the sovereign wealth fund in the future, but said there was no specific list.
The government hopes it will be able to use the newly transferred assets as collateral to secure funding for major infrastructure projects. But some analysts fear it may lead to greater political control of the companies.
Agbal also said the privatization revenue target for 2017, set at 13 billion lira, was unchanged.
($1 = 3.7542 liras)
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler and David Dolan)