US looks to see legal standards applied in Turkey’s economy
AA PhotoThe United States wants all governments to ensure the monitoring of corporate and financial activity is done in line with international legal standards, said deputy spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State Marie Harf on Feb. 5, upon a question about the seizure of a Turkish bank by a government body.
“Well, obviously this is a Turkish issue, so the Turkish authorities are probably best to speak to this specific case. But broadly speaking, we look to governments, including Turkey, to ensure that monitoring of corporate and financial activity is done in accordance with international legal standards,” she said.
Turkey’s state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) on late Feb. 3 seized control of Bank Asya, which is linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former ally-turned nemesis, U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
The ousted chief executive of the bank on Feb. 6 said the deposed leadership was appealing the “illegal” decision in court, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. “We trust the judicial system. We have to trust it. Our only option is to go to court,” Ahmet Beyaz, the ousted chief executive of Bank Asya, told AFP in an interview.
“Our shareholders went to court and opened a case. We’ll have to wait for some time before a decision. That’s our only option now,” he said.
The TMSF took control of the bank, citing a lack of transparency. The opposition denounced the move, but Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has insisted that it was not political, but a judicial move.
“Everyone is going to see that this is illegal. I cannot say if it’s political or not, I only can say this is not legal,” Beyaz told AFP.
He pointed out that Bank Asya is not a small bank. “We have around 4.5 million customers,” he said.
Evaluation of evidence
Ankara has recently informed U.S. officials that the Turkish passport of Fethullah Gülen has been canceled.
Gülen received his passport upon a “false statement,” so it was cancelled on Jan. 28, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 3. The report speculated that this could lead to Gülen’s deportation if a similar false statement was used in his application for a U.S. Green Card, quoting Michelle Estlund, an American lawyer specializing on Red Bulletin issues, as well as Turkish lawyers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, replied to a question Feb. 6 on Gülen’s deportation.
“I cannot comment specifically about an individual. What I can tell you is that in every case in which one of our allies and partners presents a request for extradition, or a request for a legal proceeding against one of their nationals who is present in the United States, we look at that and evaluate it very carefully, very rigorously, involving two of our three separate but co-equal branches of government – in this case, the ministry of justice and the court system. And we would evaluate the evidence that was presented and make a determination.” Bass said in an NTV interview.