September 16, 2014

President Erdoğan is committing a crime

Turhan Bozkurt

The Law on Banking is very clear. Under Article 74 of the law, any action or comment that may damage the prestige of a bank is a crime. Those who violate this article can be faced with a maximum of five years in prison. Everyone, even the most uninterested, knows that the government has being conducting a campaign to force the closure of the participation Bank Asya as part of its fight against the Hizmet movement for the last nine months.

Whenever the relevant institutions act in line with the laws, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan violates the laws and makes a statement against Bank Asya and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority (BDDK). People who act with common sense are horrified to see that the president, who is expected to act with a sense of responsibility, is pursuing blood feuds without considering the fact that sinking a bank may also damage the economy.

Speaking to reporters aboard a plane on a return flight from Qatar, Erdoğan publicly threatened the BDDK for not taking action against Bank Asya.

The bank attempted earlier this year to form a strategic partnership with Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), but QIB was not given a green light from the BDDK. Moreover, Bursa İstanbul (BİST) removed Bank Asya's shares on Aug. 7, citing ambiguities in the bank's partnership structure, and has not returned them to trading since, despite Bank Asya's denial of any uncertainty.

It seems that Erdoğan has already subordinated the BDDK to his rule without letting anyone know, as he has been unprecedentedly trying to tell the independent regulatory body what to do. This is a clear threat; it is blackmail and a violation of the law. In his remarks, he has expressed his discontent with people who try to save the bank from sinking despite the government's attempt to collapse it. He despises these people who should to be applauded. It is sad, isn't it? The BDDK is responsible for protecting banks, including Bank Asya.

If it does not fulfill its responsibility, it will be held responsible for the losses of Bank Asya's shareholders, other banks and the country's economy.

Published on Today's Zaman, 16 September 2014, Tuesday