May 21, 2015

BDDK chair forgot about his previous statement

Turhan Bozkurt

I was not surprised to hear the new chairman of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Mehmet Ali Akben, say, “The documents the partners of Bank Asya were asked to submit are not complete yet.”

After all, the wolf is decisive when it slaughters the lamb. I said before that the BDDK, which asked Bank Asya to submit a large number of documents that it did not ask for from other banks, will find new excuses when the bank submits the documents. The BDDK board members, who openly violate the Constitution, the law regulating the banking sector and the Turkish Commercial Code, are afraid they will have to pay a huge amount in compensation to the Bank Asya shareholders due to the documents' submission.

Ninety-four partners and shareholders of the bank previously noted that they will file a lawsuit against the BDDK and the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) members for TL 1 million. The BDDK members are aware that the board of Bank Asya cannot be removed or changed under Article 18 of the banking law. The previous deputy chairman, Mutalip Ünal, misinformed the board members when he said 38 percent of the documents were complete, while in fact 54 percent were already submitted. Those who made a decision believing that the majority did not submit the necessary documents now remain silent, although a large part of the documents is now complete.

Akben was one of the board members at the TMSF, when it, in a scandalous decision, appointed a new management at Bank Asya. This means that he has indirect responsibility for everything performed by the interim administration at Bank Asya since Feb. 3. He was appointed head of the BDDK on May 15; his recent statement will be the last contribution to their charade. Akben is aware that 90.12 percent of the documents are complete. The new administration appointed by the TMSF said on April 9: “We have observed that there are different reports in some media outlets on the documents and information that should have been referred to the BDDK showing that the shareholders of our bank fulfilled the necessary conditions. Based on this observation, we concluded that we needed to inform the public properly on this matter. The documents referred to by 152 shareholders constituting 90.12 percent of the 185 shareholders on April 9, 2015, were submitted to the BDDK.” Well, the statement is pretty clear. The BDDK, basing its decision on 38 percent of the documents, now ignores 91 percent. This is not my statement. The interim administration of Bank Asya, which was appointed by the TMSF members, including Akben, provided this explanation. I leave the stark contradiction between his statement and what the members he appointed said to the conscience of Akben.

How does he explain attitude of Sanko Holding board chairman?

In the meantime, I would like to ask Akben this question: “It is reported that Sanko Holding Board Chairman Abdülkadir Konukoğlu, who holds 5 percent of the shares of Bank Asya, did not deliberately submit the documents to BDDK. How would you comment on Konukoğlu's attitude given that all other shareholders submitted the documents?”

There is no financial or legal reason to change the administration of Bank Asya. Those who violate some fundamental rights on property and economic dignity should be prepared to pay huge amounts in compensation for what they have done. Even the criminal court in The Hague may prosecute the discriminatory acts and hate crimes committed against the shareholders of Bank Asya. The interim administration, which hesitates to even hold a general assembly, committed an offense by announcing the 2014 balance without undersigning it.

They cannot sign any documents; everybody witnesses that Bank Asya still stays alive and strong despite continuous attacks. The TMSF members would have endorsed this if they had undersigned the relevant documents. But they did not do this because they feared the reaction from the presidential palace. They know that what they have done is not legal. They are unable to offer a justification for confiscating Bank Asya.

Why did they not ask other banks to submit similar documents?

If more than 90 percent of the required documents have been submitted properly, no one would be able to speculate on the performance and strength of Bank Asya. This applies to the BDDK as well. Did the BDDK ask other banks, including VakıfBank, Denizbank and Rus Sberbank, Unicredit (a partner of Yapı Kredi), Spanish BBVA (a partner of Garanti) and Albaraka Türk? But this is not about documents. Even if there is a missing document, a small fine would have resolved the problem. But this was used as a pretext to destroy Bank Asya. The BDDK, which invented a new pretext because it realized it was unable to legally confiscate the bank, ruined its corporate image. Standard & Poor's, relying on diplomatic language, expressed the declining faith in the BDDK and its risks to the economy, stating, “…actions against Bank Asya illustrated the potential for political risk, or the perception of it, to directly or indirectly spill over into the financial system.” The BDDK, established to address the possible banking crisis, is moving away from its founding principles. There are now attempts to remove competent figures trained within this institution. It is still not too late. The BDDK should not be willing to serve as a tool for revenge operations by the government or the presidential palace. Dear Mr. Akben, the pretext referring to missing documents is no longer applicable. As Süleyman Taşbaş, the lawyer for the Bank Asya shareholders said, put an end to the BDDK's control over the bank and return Bank Asya to its shareholders!

Published on Today's Zaman, 21 May 2015, Thursday