Gov’t media maintain attack on Bank Asya

Bank Asya headquarters is pictured in İstanbul on Feb. 4. (Photo: Reuters)
Bank Asya headquarters is pictured in İstanbul on Feb. 4. (Photo: Reuters)


Date posted: July 21, 2015

In yet another allegation targeted at Turkey’s largest Islamic lender, Turkey’s pro-government media continued a smear campaign against Bank Asya, the lender’s shareholders said on Sunday, reiterating that the bank operated fully in line with laws.

Turkish daily Yeni Akit, with close links to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reported on Sunday that Bank Asya extended loans to certain Turkish-owned companies abroad and failed to collect these loan debts.

The same daily also alleged that Asya was made to post losses due to these non-performing loans. A group of Asya shareholders denied allegations on Sunday, referring to the claims as “slander.”

“All of Bank Asya loan traffic inside and outside of Turkey is monitored by the Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board [MASAK]. … There is not a single incident where Bank Asya sustained losses due to a loan extended and all of these loans have been paid back to the bank,” the shareholders said in Sunday’s written statement.

After a three-month period of interim management, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) announced in late May that it had handed over control of Bank Asya to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) in what many political commentators consider a politically motivated move.

Bank Asya was founded by sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement — a civil society initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Gülen has been accused of being the leader of a hidden structure within the government which, according to many in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), attempted to launch a coup against the government when sweeping bribery investigations implicated several Cabinet ministers in 2013. The movement has strongly denied the accusations.

Global rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has last week confirmed that the seizure of Islamic lender Bank Asya is an example of the severity of political risks in Turkey, which could affect the country’s whole financial system.

Source: Today's Zaman , July 19, 2015


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