A deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has asked in a parliamentary question about the sharp rise in Turkey’s main stock exchange Borsa Istanbul on April 10, claiming that Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci had already forecasted this rise.
CHP Tekirdağ deputy Faik Öztrak, an economist and former Treasurer, submitted a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on April 13 about whether any transaction was made by the newly-established Sovereign Wealth Fund of Turkey (TVF) or one of its subsidiaries at Borsa Istanbul just a few days ahead of the April 16 referendum.
Borsa Istanbul’s BIST 100 Index closed on April 10 at 91.240 points, a 3.1 percent increase compared to the previous transaction day. Its banking index saw a 5.8 percent rise on the same day.
Saying the significant rise in the stock exchange came from a “parallel forecast” by the economy minister, Öztrak asked how Zeybekci knew about this rise, questioning whether any political intervention was made on the markets through the controversial recently announced sovereign wealth fund ahead of the upcoming referendum.
Zeybekci had predicted on April 7 that Turkish markets would see recovery by the upcoming week.
Öztrak recalled a recent Bloomberg News report regarding the significant rise in the stock exchange, linking it to the return of a mysterious trader dubbed “the Dude” (“herif” in Turkish).
“This ‘Dude’ is buying from our market, why should we be concerned? He is doing good stuff,” Borsa Istanbul Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Himmet Karadağ, who is also a board member of the wealth fund, told Bloomberg in an interview on April 12.
The trader first came to prominence in early 2016, when locals started noticing a series of massive bets dictating the direction of the Turkish stock market. On April 10, for instance, Borsa Istanbul data show that buy orders through a single brokerage favored by the unknown investor were responsible for almost half of the day’s total, according to the report, which was quoted by Öztrak in his parliamentary question.
“Did the wealth fund or one of its subsidiaries make any transactions in the Borsa Istanbul if they had started operations?” he asked.
He also questioned whether the financial markets watchdog would make any probe regarding the transactions on that day.
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said on April 14, adding that the fund would start operations after its three-year strategy is announced.
Speaking in an interview with state broadcaster TRT, adviser Cemil Ertem said the fund may make purchases on Turkey’s bourse, as quoted by Reuters.
“The fund will start its operations after the launch of the three-year strategy plan,” he said, adding that the main aim of the fund is to attract more financing sources into Turkey.
“The Sovereign Wealth Fund of Turkey may of course acquire a brand or lender abroad,” Ertem said.
The government has already transferred billions of dollars in stakes of Turkish Airlines, major banks and other companies to the fund to finance big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, Ertem also said he expected inflation to fall rapidly from the second half of 2017, after annual inflation hit its highest in 8.5 years in March as chronic weakness in the lira currency stoked a surge in consumer prices.