February 6, 2015

Law experts urge Turkish gov’t to stop ‘playing with fire’ by sinking bank

Law experts agree that the Turkish government was “playing with fire” by illegally overhauling the management on Bank Asya, and many said that the measures would put the country’s economy at risk.

The Turkish banking watchdog BDDK on Tuesday handed management control of 63 percent of the privileged shares of Turkey's Bank Asya over to state savings funds, citing insufficient transparency to allow for proper regulation. Bank Asya management and shareholders, however, denied the existence of transparency flaws and said the decision was a government-orchestrated bid to sink the lender.

In response to the state-run Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) decision to take over most of Bank Asya’s management as part of a government-orchestrated crackdown on institutions affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, former İstanbul Bar Association President Turgut Kazan said that Turkey is heading down a dangerous slope on the wishes of one man.

“Banking business has a very important scope. That’s why banking is especially dependent on rules and prohibition. But as we see the law has been seriously damaged in the country for a year. The wishes of one man have nothing to do with the law,” Kazan said.

Turkey would face sanctions

Expressing that damage on a bank would damage the economy; Kazan said that authorities in Turkey "flout the rules."

“Overhauling a bank’s management also affects the Turkish economy. Saying ‘the bank [Bank Asya] is already bankrupt’ is breaking the law. There are prohibitions and rules in the banking sector. If you say something like that, you may face sanctions. But all of the rules are being broken one by one,” Kazan said.

Last year during a meeting for Turkey's largest business group, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), in İstanbul, Erdoğan said “They say there are efforts being made to sink a bank. There is no work being done to sink a bank. This bank is already bankrupt. But they are trying to keep it afloat with a few buckets of water.”

Repercussion on Turkey will be severe

Warning authorities that illegally overhauling of bank management would have a price, criminal law specialist Prof. Dr. Ersan Şen gave the example of Yukos, an oil and gas company based in Moscow.

“Yukos was a giant company. Russia detained the former head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Later on Khodorkovsky filed to the European Court of Human Rights and Russia has to compensate them. Laws and rules must be practiced in right way. If you practice law politically, repercussion on Turkey will be severe," Şen said.

Reacting against the raid on Bank Asya, the president of the Law and Life Association, lawyer Mehmet Kasap, expressed that overhauling Bank Asya’s management was against proprietary rights and freedom of enterprise.

Raid is all political

A professor of administrative law, Metin Günday, said that according to the Banking Law meeting the requirements for a raid have not yet been met. “Because of that, overhauling Bank Asya must be political,” he said.

Ergun Özbudun, a professor of constitutional law at İstanbul Şehir University, expressed that the according to him as a citizen of Turkey, the raid on bank was political.

Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Türk, who is an expert in constitutional law, also expressed that the decision on Bank Asya seemed political.

“For a while, the president was targeting Bank Asya. The decision [to takeover Bank Asya] was a decision which came from the president’s discourse,” Türk added.

Published on BGNNews, 06 February 2015, Friday