Turkish state fund seizes assets of CHP Istanbul candidate Mustafa Sarıgül
ANKARA - Hürriyet
Mustafa Sarıgül was officially announced as the CHP’s candidate for the Istanbul mayoral post last month, ending months of speculation. AA photoThe Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) has seized the assets of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Mustafa Sarıgül, less than three months ahead of the local elections.
The decision was taken after the current mayor of Istanbul’s Şişli district failed to repay loans worth $3.5 million taken out from Bank Ekspres in 1998, together with nine other creditors, daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 17.
The documents regarding Sarıgül’s loans were allegedly lost after the confiscation of Ban Ekspres in October 1998, but were recently delivered to the TMSF by its ex-CEO and owner, Korkmaz Yiğit. The state fund’s seizure of Sarıgül’s assets came after the assessment of those documents, the report said.
The TMSF demands the return of $8 million, with interest added to the initial loan amount. Daily Hürriyet reported that Sarıgül’s property and bank accounts were seized as of Jan. 16, following the decision.
In his first remarks after the decision, Sarıgül described the TMSF’s move as a “provocation.”
“This incident is nothing more than the panic-stricken instrumentalization of state institutions to politics,” he said, adding that the he had not received any letter about the process for the last 16 years.
“Those who have staged the attack against myself have at the same time lost the people’s trust, and will get their response on March 30,” he added.
Sarıgül's lawyer denied the existence of such a debt, adding that they were trying to understand on what grounds the decision had been taken.
"I think it is related to the current political agenda," lawyer Murat Hazinedar told Hürriyet.
The popular Sarıgül, who had been expelled from the CHP in 2005, returned to his ex-party amid huge fanfare, and was considered the best placed candidate to defeat the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) incumbent mayor, Kadir Topbaş.
He was officially announced as the CHP’s candidate for the Istanbul mayoral post last month, ending months of speculation.