February 6, 2015

Turks living abroad return to support Bank Asya

Following Tuesday's government-orchestrated decision to take over 63 percent of Bank Asya's management, tens of thousands of citizens have flooded the bank's branches across Turkey with money, defying the political pressure.

After the crackdown, many Turkish citizens living abroad have also reportedly returned to sell their belongings, including homes, cars and rings, to deposit money into their accounts.

“Under normal conditions, I come to Turkey once or twice in a year. But when I heard the news on Wednesday morning, I instantly bought a plane ticket to İstanbul and am here to deposit all my money,” Şaban Aras, a Turkish citizen living in Austria, told the Cihan news agency while waiting in line at a Bank Asya branch in İstanbul.

“I am willing to deposit all my savings with Bank Asya. In fact, it is not just me. My wife sent her earrings and bracelets from our wedding to deposit into a separate account of hers. I could have deposited money without even coming to Turkey, but I wanted to be alongside my brothers and sisters who are willing to sacrifice everything for this case,” Aras stated.

In addition to the support of citizens, dozens of leading associations across Turkey have expressed their dissatisfaction with the crackdown, saying the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency's (BDDK) decision will pave the way for further speculation in financial markets.

Kırıkkale Anatolian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association President Fatih Sarı slammed the midnight police raid on the headquarters of Bank Asya, saying the decision by the banking watchdog to take over the bank's management lacks legal grounds.

“Governments are temporary while the global principles of the economy are permanent and independent from governments. This crackdown is nothing but a part of the government's ongoing authoritarian policies,” Sarı told the Cihan news agency.

In the meantime, hundreds of people continued their vigil in front of Bank Asya's headquarters in İstanbul throughout Friday to protest the crackdown, which was based on the grounds that the bank did not have a transparent partnership structure or an open organizational scheme.

Carrying signs with slogans such as “Save Bank Asya from thieves,” “We are here to deposit money, not withdraw” and “This bank belongs to this nation,” the crowd refused to leave the area since the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Published on Today's Zaman, 06 February 2015, Friday

See several photos of long lines in Bank Asya branches across Turkey.