Turkey’s İşbank says it should not be made subject of political debate
Turkish lender İşbank on Sept. 17 said it was too important “not to be made a subject of political debate,” responding to a report that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said “authorities should look into the role of opposition members on its board.”
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) owns 28 percent of İşbank, the country’s largest listed bank by assets.
“It owns 28 percent of İşbank shares. It cannot get money from there but it has four board members. What do these four members do? This must be looked into,” Erdoğan was quoted by daily Hürriyet as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to Azerbaijan on Sept. 16.
In a statement, İşbank said it was too important not to be made the subject of a political debate.
It said trust in banks needs to be preserved for the sake of the national economy.
İşbank reminded that some 31.79 percent of its shares were publicly offered, with 40.12 percent of it being owned by the İşbank Members’ Supplementary Pension Fund.
At the bank, Atatürk shares are at 28.09 percent. Under modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s will, the profits of these shares go to the Turkish Language Institution and the Turkish History Institution.
Saying that the ownership and the representation of the Atatürk shares were determined independently from the Turkish İş Bank’s legal personality and in accordance with Atatürk’s will, laws and judicial bills, the bank added: “From the past to now, the Atatürk shares were represented by CHP and Treasury together or separately. This, however, did not make any impact on our bank’s business.”
The bank shares slid nearly 3.4 percent to 4 liras early trading on Sept. 17.
Upon a question by reporters on Sept. 17, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the party did not take any money from the bank.
“We are not the partner of İşbank. We are just representing the Atatürk shares,” he said, adding that CHP members in the bank management did not interfere in business operations.