February 4, 2015

No to ’financial coup’

Turhan Bozkurt

Those who have not hesitated to tell lies and resort to blackmail over the last 14 months in an effort to make Bank Asya go bankrupt are beginning a new intimidation campaign that may have a destructive impact on the overall economy.

The attempt by the state to sink the bank is taking place in front of the entire world.

Members of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and Capital Markets Board (SPK) are publicly committing a crime. These bureaucrats, including BDDK deputy head Mustafa Ünal, are violating their oath to remain independent of politics by apparently following the instructions of politicians and taking the country to the brink of financial chaos. BDDK bureaucrats, who are obligated by law to remain independent, should not conclude that they will avoid prosecution even if, as reportedly promised, they are nominated for deputyships. They should be aware that banking-related crimes are not subject to a statute of limitation. Those who undersigned these illegal decisions will eventually be prosecuted.

At 12 percent, the capital sufficiency ratio of Bank Asya is well above the minimum requirements. The partners pledged an additional amount of TL 225 million, increasing this ratio to 18 percent. Despite attempts to sink it, the bank has fulfilled all the demands of its customers over the last 14 months. Not one person has said they were unable to withdraw money from the bank. Normally, the BDDK can take control of a bank if it fails to perform its daily activities. Such a decision has not been made so far; this alone indicates that those who performed the operation on the night of Feb. 3 recognize no laws. If it had found something that would justify the takeover of the bank in its unceasing inspections, the BDDK would have done so. Besides, the statement made by the BDDK suggests that it found no reason to take control of the bank, but under increasing pressure it decided to change the members of the bank's board.

As in the cases of Turkcell, Türk Telekom and Turkish Airlines, the government will assign new individuals to the board who will comply with its requests. Bank Asya will be made susceptible to political intervention, despite the stipulation in existing law that banks should be free of political considerations. As a result, the government will be able to interfere with the bank through new board members whose only qualification may be their support for the government. And the pro-government media will be told to publish reports that could intimidate and panic the bank's customers. We are witnessing the financial version of a previous attempt to fabricate a terror organization based on two columns and newspaper reports on Dec. 14, 2014, staging a coup against the media.

I am telling you, the Feb. 3 financial coup confirms that businessmen, bankers and investors are no longer safe in Turkey. The government does not hesitate to deal with anybody or any institution it considers an opponent. Today the victim is Bank Asya; tomorrow, it could be somebody else. Unfortunately, the Feb. 3 coup was carried out by the BDDK and the TMSF, which have to act independently and impartially. Those who are involved in this coup -- which will cause a lot of damage to the economy -- will be punished severely by the people and by the courts.

The people who taught a lesson to those who caused the economic crisis in 2001 will never forget those who tried to destroy a participation bank that makes huge contribution to the economy. The economic bandits and their protectors seeking to destroy Bank Asya are already referred to as pathetic figures who do not hesitate orchestrate a crisis to cover up their mistakes and sins.

Turkey was punished with a $4.5 billion fine by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for the unjust confiscation of Kentbank. Those who deliberately tried to sink Bank Asya will have to pay a lot more.

And what happened last night will affect the decisions of foreign investors and accelerate the exit of capital from Turkey. Interest rates will go up. And 77 million people will pay the price. Everybody should speak up against the financial coup. And this can be done by depositing everything you have in Bank Asya. The democracy watch will begin at Bank Asya now.

Published on Today's Zaman, 04 February 2015, Wednesday