Ruling party slams CHP over shares in İşbank

Ruling party slams CHP over shares in İşbank

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ruling party slams CHP over shares in İşbank

This file photo shows the İşbank eadqaurters in central Istanbul. The CHP inherited its 28.09 percent stake in İşbank from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

A senior ruling party official has said the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) involvement in İşbank as a share-holder has led to the “impression of a financial Ergenekon” and urged the main opposition to hand over its shares either to the Treasury or a trustee.

The accusations, coupled with a reference to Ergenekon, the purported network that allegedly plotted to overthrow the government, prompted the CHP to issue angry denials and challenge the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to initiate legal action if it believed the allegations.

AKP Deputy Chairman Bülent Gedikli said through its stake in İşbank the CHP “interfered” in decisions concerning bank shares in other companies and the channeling of advertising funds to certain media groups, particularly between 2005 and 2007.

“We cannot see clearly at the moment where all these may lead, but what media reports say gives the impression that this goes as far as a financial ‘Ergenekon.’ The relationship between the CHP and İşbank must be investigated by an inquiry commission or through other ways,” Gedikli told Anatolia news agency.

The CHP inherited its 28.09 percent stake in İşbank from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of both the party and the bank. Under his will, the profits go to the Turkish Language Institution and the Turkish History Institution. The CHP appoints three members to the executive board of the bank, which is Turkey’s largest publicly held private-sector bank, and, through its array of industrial investments, one of Turkey’s top three corporations, representing more than 6 percent of the total market value of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (İMKB).

“They cannot cover up this using the pretext of Atatürk’s will. The current state of affairs is totally incompatible with the Constitution and the Political Parties Law. What if another party wants to do banking? The CHP must take action. They must hand over their shares either to the Treasury or to a trustee,” Gedikli said.

Gedikli said he heard of “rumors” that CHP-appointed board members pressured the bank to act in line with the party’s political agenda and alleged that İşbank transactions concerning CHP shares were not fully transparent. Through its İşbank stake, the CHP is also a shareholder in two other banks and 26 companies, he said.

CHP Group Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi dismissed Gedikli’s claims as a “fabrication” and said the CHP’s relationship with İşbank was not one of economic partnership, with the party acting only as a representative of Atatürk’s shares.

“The scenario this AKP member has made up has nothing to do with reality. It’s all distortion that should not be even taken seriously. The CHP does not get a single penny from there,” Hamzaçebi told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“If Mr. Gedikli has any information or documents supporting his claims, he should share them with the public and then resort to the judiciary. Instead of slinging mud at us, he’d better answer the questions about the AKP’s links to the money collected by Deniz Feneri, the companies that have been founded with the money in Turkey and their financial bonds with the AKP,” he said, referring to the charity investigated for embezzlement.

CHP Deputy Adnan Keskin, who has served on the İşbank executive board, denied the party had exerted any political influence on the bank’s investments and expenditures, challenging Gedikli to substantiate his claims.

“This fellow must prove all his allegations. If not, his morals and dignity will be questioned. This is another AKP attempt to cover up its own corruption,” he told the Daily News.

The CHP cannot hand over the İşbank shares since they were bestowed to the party as part of Atatürk’s will and inheritance law does not allow for changes to wills after a person’s death, Keskin said. “Atatürk is their real problem. That’s their understanding of advanced democracy.”