CHP leader warns PM over banking crisis amid Bank Asya row
Kılıçdaroğlu’s letter came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan directly called on Turkey’s banking watchdog to take steps against Bank Asya. AA PhotoMain opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has penned an open letter to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, accusing him of remaining silent over the president’s “attacks” against Islamic lender Bank Asya, saying he will be held responsible for any potential crisis in the banking sector.
“Dear prime minister, I warn you in advance. You are a candidate to become responsible for a new crisis that might occur in the banking sector,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader wrote in the letter released on Sept. 17.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s letter came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Turkey’s banking watchdog to take steps against Bank Asya, whose founders are known to be sympathizers of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-enemy of the government.
Referring to Erdoğan as “the man who lives on a high-altitude hill,” in reference to the Çankaya Palace that represents the Turkish presidency, the CHP head accused Davutoğlu of remaining silent against Erdoğan’s “words targeting a Turkish bank and constituting a crime.”
“If there is a problem with the bank, solve it within a legal framework. But if the problem is with the man who lives on the high-altitude hill, please ask him to calm down,” he said.
Bank Asya has faced several setbacks since it found itself at the center of a struggle between Gülen and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In addition to failures to secure partnerships with two potential buyers and the cancelations of a number of public contracts, the bank most recently received a major blow at the stock exchange.
Kılıçdaroğlu also called on the prime minister to punish those making local and foreign investors “anxious and victimized.”
The CHP chairman said Erdoğan “is not constitutionally accountable,” while protection and control over Turkish banks came within Davutoğlu’s remit.
“Crime and punishment processes in open societies like Turkey are transparent. You can’t say ‘we couldn’t bust them from here, we should impose fines from there,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Nobody has the right or the authority to award or punish a bank or a capital owner according to its savings or customers. Such arbitrariness would be like setting off a bomb in the financial system. Nobody would win in this game, everybody would lose,” he added.
“Turkey severely paid the costs for past rumors and smear campaigns in the banking sector. Some 25 banks sank and losses amounting to around one-third of the national income were recorded," Kılıçdaroğlu also said, referring to Turkey's 2000-01 banking crisis.