May 31, 2015

Bank Asya unlawful seizure entirely political, says owners’ lawyer

Speaking in the aftermath of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s seizure of publicly traded Islamic lender Bank Asya, Lawyer Süleyman Taşbaş vows that the continued illegal measures were political and illegal.

Taşbaş had long been engaged in a legal battle on behalf of the shareholders, after the BDDK had kick-started the attacks on the bank by ordering the take over its management control of privileged shares on February 3 by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). He states that the unjust seizure will inevitably come to an end, even if it means going to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

“This has been an absurd decision. While we were awaiting for the bank management be returned to the rightful owners, we have been left face to face with another seizure,” expressed Taşbaş, adding that Friday’s ruling was merely a continuation of the same unlawful actions which had been going on since the start of the year, and in line with the government-led smear campaign over the past year. “This decision is entirely political and has nothing to do with the rule of law – furthermore it is a constitutional crime,” and a “violation of the European Convention of Human Rights laws pertaining to right of ownership."

Taşbaş also expressed that the takeover was an attempt to incite panic and cause a run to the bank, calling for the customers to display the same solidarity as in the aftermath of February 3 measure. “Bank Asya has remained on its feet thanks to the support shown by its customers. Even the world’s strongest bank would not have been able to stand on its feet amidst the oppression witnessed in the past year.”

Bank Asya had long been subject to political attacks. President Erdoğan even stated that the bank had long failed despite the fact that the publicly traded Islamic lender had one of the best capital adequacy ratios of the sector. Defamatory rumors published by pro-government press have been challenged but unpunished.

Banking sector experts warn that illegal bank takeovers have cost Turkey dearly in international courts.

Published on BGNNews, 31 May 2015, Sunday