Ankara rebuffs claims Halkbank to be replaced
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
“There is no such thing. Turkey’s banking watchdog will make the necessary explanation,” Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek told reporters in Ankara, referring to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK).
The claims come amid U.S. probes into Halkbank over alleged violations of Iran sanctions. Ankara has said many times that Halkbank did not break a national or an international law, nor did it violate United Nations sanctions on Iran.
“There is no work to replace Halkbank. The latest regulations aren’t related to Halkbank. The regulations were done to comply with the new trade law,” said Mehmet Ali Akben, the head of the watchdog.
On Nov. 16, new regulations regarding the merger, division, transfer of assets and exchange of bank shares were published in the Official Gazette. OdaTV, an online news portal, claimed that the change was for a caution to protect Halkbank in case it would remain functionless as a result of the U.S. probe, which includes jailed Hakan Atilla, a jailed deputy general manager of the state lender, along with Reza Zarrab, the Iranian-Turkish businessman who will face a jury trial for violating sanctions on Iran.