Embattled telecommunications equipment-maker, Huawei, may be losing favour in the west but it still has some friends out there, with Turkcell coming out in support of the Chinese company.
Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioglu said in a statement that "Huawei has been a reliable business partner and the partnership is set to continue".
Global scrutiny has been growing against the Chinese equipment-maker due to security worries linked to Huawei's close ties to the Chinese government, and allegations its equipment could hold backdoors to enable spying, which has not been definitively proved and which Huawei denies.
Terzioglu, however, said security vulnerability claims against Huawei cannot be evaluated in isolation from current developments in the market.
"It wouldn't be right to evaluate Huawei's current situation by ignoring the competition in the smartphone market and the conflict of which company will lead 5G. You may recall that last year another smartphone company faced unfavourable news. As you can see, whenever an 'unexpected' company gets ahead, they are confronted. No one should expect us to act on uncorroborated claims. Turkcell will continue to work with its long-time business partner Huawei."
The head of Turkey's leading mobile phone operator said data security remains a top priority national security issue globally.
"We have witnessed many failures of western companies in securing personal data. There still are ongoing cases and investigations on this specific topic. Consequently, we are completely aware of potential risks. We have been and always will be cautious about our business partnerships.
"We are very well prepared regardless of where we buy the technology, whether it is from a Chinese, European or American company. We have the necessary means to secure our networks and our customers' data," Terzioglu added.
Despite a slew of European nations and US allies considering not buying Huawei 5G equipment, France's Senate yesterday rejected proposed legislation aimed at strengthening checks on telecoms equipment.
According to Reuters, the new legislation was a last-minute addition to a wide-ranging corporate law and would have required telecom operators to seek formal approval for the use of particular kinds of equipment considered to be sensitive for spying or sabotage risks.
France's government is concerned about the future deployment of 5G technology. Two of France's main telecoms operators, Bouygues Telecom and Altice Europe's SFR group, are already using Huawei's equipment for their networks, Reuters reports.
In August 2018, US president Donald Trump banned the US government use of equipment made by the Chinese company. The US is pushing allies to follow suit and keep Huawei out of planned 5G networks, and it seems to be working
Japan has already excluded Huawei from public procurement, and Australia and New Zealand effectively blocked Huawei from involvement in the rollout of their 5G network infrastructure. The UK, Canada, Germany, Poland, Norway and the Czech Republic are also assessing whether to exclude Huawei from forthcoming infrastructure rollouts.
Meanwhile, Italy's La Stampa newspaper today reported the country will ban Huawei and ZTE from playing a role in the roll out of the country's 5G infrastructure due to "strong pressure" from the United States. The paper cited senior sources saying the Italian government was ready to use so-called 'golden powers' that allow it to pull out of contracts already signed without having to pay penalties.
The US justice department last week charged Huawei with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran, bank and wire fraud and with allegedly stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou also faces charges in the US after she was arrested in December 2018 in Canada.