State-owned Ziraat Bank ‘has eyes on’ pro-Gülen Islamic Bank
Bank Asya has been the subject of focus since the Turkish media reported that state-owned companies and institutional depositors loyal to the government had withdrawn around 4 billion Turkish Liras in the wake of the graft probe.State-owned Ziraat Bank may be interested in buying Islamic bank Bank Asya, whose owner is known to have close ties with Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, as part of its plans to enter the Islamic banking sector, daily Hürriyet columnist Erdal Sağlam has reported.
Ziraat Bank officials told Sağlam there had not yet been any official attempt to move for Bank Asya, but they did not deny the possibility of such an acquisition either.
Ziraat is one of three state-owned banks planning to open up a participation bank to offer interest-free financial services.
According to speculation in Ankara, Ziraat is leaning toward purchasing Bank Asya as it would allow it to enter the Islamic banking market without having to establish a new lender from scratch. The government is also known as wanting to change the capital structure of the bank that is controlled by Gülen supporters, Sağlam wrote.
Bank Asya has been the subject of focus since the Turkish media reported that state-owned companies and institutional depositors loyal to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had withdrawn around 4 billion Turkish Liras in the wake of the Dec. 17, 2013, graft probe.
In a statement to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) after the release of the report on June 3, Bank Asya said the bank had not received any partnership offers, recalling that it has been in excusive talks with Qatar Islamic Bank over share transfer since March.
Currently, there are four Islamic banks in Turkey: Albaraka Türk, Bank Asya, Türkiye Finans and Kuveyt Türk.