February 8, 2015

Turkish Bar Association President the latest to slam Bank Asya overhaul

Turkish Bar Association (TBB) President Metin Feyzioğlu outlines the illegality of the management overhaul of Bank Asya, renewing his criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

From the 2014 speculative statements of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claiming the bank failed, up to the illegal management overhaul last week, all aspects of the government-sponsored crackdown on the bank is marked by illegality.

Just months before the raid, Erdoğan had openly stated that the bank “was going under” and called upon the banking watchdog (BDDK) to hurry up. Feyzioğlu joined the chorus of legal and financial markets experts in underlining that spreading defamatory rumors on a publicly traded bank is nothing short of crime, punishable by prison and a fine.

“This is a crime, to first spread rumors to make the bank go under, and then take it over,” Feyzioğlu said.

The premise for the management takeover which cites a lack of transparency concerning the founding partners' records has no basis, according to Feyzioğlu, who pointed to the timing of the takeover. “Has it only occurred to them now to check on whether or not the shareholder structure of the bank was known or not?” he asked.

The Bar association president also stressed that the very public role the president took on the Bank also was a violation of the impartiality of the office, as outlined in the constitution.

Beyond the politics of the raid, one major concern remains to be investor confidence and international reputation of the Turkish financial markets, notes opposition Republican People’s Party delegate Mehmet Şeker.

“Foreigners will not invest in such an environment, with such uncertainty, with the state taking over institutions,” Şeker said.

His sentiments were echoed by fellow party delegate Atilla Kart, who slammed Erdoğan’s “manipulative statements [against the bank] motivated by a personal grudge and vendetta,” highlighting “the results are clear, the statements have cost the treasury $18 billion.”

İpek Üniversity associate professor Dr. Ali Soylu pointed out freedom of business. “While the country is suffering from a severe account deficit, requiring encouragement to create jobs; what is transpiring is inexplicable and unreasonable.”

In the meantime Bank Asya’s lawyer Nedim Irmak has argued that the disclosure of the bank’s shareholders’ personal information in pro-government press outlets constituted to a crime of speculation, which carries a prison sentence and fine. “Such reporting can tarnish the reputation of a bank,” he said, adding that a criminal complaint would be filed against the move.

Published on BGNNews, 08 February 2015, Sunday