June 2, 2015

Founder of Turkey’s banking watchdog tears apart Bank Asya take-over

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s (BDDK) founder and former Finance Minister Zekeriya Temizel becomes the highest authority to react strongly against the takeover of publicly traded Bank Asya.

Notably the BDDK had put article 71 of the Turkish banking law into effect, “Revoking Operations Permissions or Transferring to the Fund,” to transfer the bank to the Savings Deposit and Insurance Fund (TMSF) last week. The move came after the February 3 management takeover publicly demanded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

To Temizel, the time frame between the two actions alone is enough to outline the suspicions of the measure. “If the conditions did not exist at first [the February management takeover], then the responsibility should rest with the current management," he said.

Another aspect which draws suspicion was the fact that Bank Asya had posted one of the best capital adequacy ratios in the sector. According to the former Finance Minister, “the ratio alone indicates that conditions in article 71 have not been met.”

Temizel agrees wholeheartedly that the implications will be a severe blow for the entire country’s financial markets. “The international arena will react unbelievably strongly against these illegal measures, which violate universal principles of law.”

The former Finance Minister also underlined the takeover as “a first” for Turkey’s history, even more drastic compared to the past of the Turkish banking sector.

In another development, Bank Asya’s customers once again stood strong, not running to the bank to withdraw, but instead showing solidarity. There were even individuals who were reportedly opening accounts, in scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of February’s management takeover.

Published on BGNNews, 1 June 2015, Monday