Turkey

Gülen linked Bank Asya deleted 800,000 transaction records

Information technology specialists from Turkey's banking watchdog, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), discovered that 800,000 transaction records were deleted at Bank Asya, which was seized by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) in February. According to an investigation, the mentioned transactions were deleted just after the Dec. 17, 2013 operation. After the Gülen Movement was included in the Red Book as a national security threat and deemed a terrorist organization, the accounts of some of the people that are included in the movement will be investigated. In case any relations to the movement's members are revealed, the bank may be forcibly terminated for national security reasons.

UPDATE 2-Turkish authorities take over Islamic lender Bank Asya

Turkish authorities said on Friday they had decided to take over Bank Asya. The move was announced by the banking watchdog BDDK just over a week ahead of a parliamentary election and on the same day that Erdogan launched the Islamic business of the state-owned Ziraat Bank. The BDDK statement said it acted as "problems experienced in the bank's activities with its financial structure, its partnership and management make-up presented a danger ... in terms of confidence and stability in the financial system." It handed over control of the bank to Turkey's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) which said that the bank's operating licence had not been cancelled at this stage.

Turkish Bank Watchdog Seizes Remaining Bank Asya Shares

Turkish regulators seized the remaining shares in Bank Asya, the Islamic lender taken over by authorities this year amid a political dispute. The move against the bank was announced late Friday on the website of the bank watchdog. The aim was to protect savers and ensure “stability and confidence in the financial system,” it said. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan denied that the seizure was politically motivated in an interview late Friday. The seizure comes before parliamentary elections on June 7 and about two weeks after the cabinet appointed Mehmet Ali Akben, a career Islamic banker and board member of the state Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, to head the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.

Turkey’s PM Says Seizure of Bank Asya Shares in Line With Law

Denying any political motives, Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says regulators’ action purely based on “technical, fiscal and financial” evaluation. Turkish regulators on Friday seized remaining shares in Bank Asya. Appeals process is open on Bank Asya seizure: Bank Asya went beyond “normal banking” due to ties with "parallel state,” Davutoglu says in reference to supporters of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expects state banks to launch Islamic units soon

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he expected other state banks to establish Islamic banking units soon after state-run Ziraat launched an Islamic unit on Friday. Erdogan, speaking at the launch ceremony of Ziraat's new business, said he also expected Ziraat to set up an Islamic insurance unit.

Capital markets are the ‘second wing’ of the Turkish economy

Comprehensive reforms in Turkey’s capital markets over recent years have exceeded EU standards and bred confidence among investors, says the Chairman of the Capital Markets Board Vahdettin Erta?. The Turkish government has a plan to develop the participation banking sector and also the instruments we provide under Islamic principles. The sukuk regulation was renewed in 2013 and also a new regulation was made after the reform on the private pension system which allows for the establishment of Sharia-compliant pension funds. The government also has a plan to develop the Islamic insurance (takaful) industry.

UPDATE 1-Turkey's Erdogan urges state lenders to step up Islamic banking

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the launch of Ziraat Bank's Islamic business should help to attract new funds to Turkey and urged other state lenders to help to triple Islamic banking's share of the market by 2023. Speaking at Friday's launch ceremony for Ziraat's new business, Erdogan said he also expects Ziraat to set up an Islamic insurance operation and called on other state lenders to introduce Islamic banking divisions soon. Turkey's other two state lenders, Vakifbank and Halkbank, have also been looking to set up Islamic banks as part of the government's efforts to develop the sector and tap a pool of cash-rich investors in the Gulf and southeast Asia.

Bank Asya has not sent all required documents - Turkish banks watchdog

Islamic lender Bank Asya has not yet filed all the documents sought by Turkey's banking watchdog BDDK after the regulators took over the bank's management and seized a small stake in it earlier this year, BDDK head Mehmet Ali Akben said on Wednesday. The government has said the management of the bank, founded by followers of President Tayyip Erdogan's ally-turned-foe Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, was taken over because it failed to meet some legal criteria.

Babacan praises Islamic banking model

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said on Wednesday that the growth of Islamic banking would strengthen Turkey’s financial system, praising the rapid growth of Islamic banks. Speaking at the 14th General Assembly meeting of the Participation Banks Association of Turkey in Istanbul, Babacan said the latest global economic crisis showed that interest-free financial methods are much more reliable, much more stable, and much more robust. His remarks came after one of Turkey's largest state-controlled banks, Ziraat Bank, was authorized by the country's banking regulator to start operations in its Islamic banking division last week. He also stated that an insurance system should also be developed using interest-free practice

Kuwait Finance House moves to Turkey for Islamic finance

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is exploring the possible sale of assets including its Malaysia unit, as the Islamic lender looks for a leaner structure while seeking greener pastures through its Turkey franchise. KFH is restructuring activities ahead of a planned divestment by its largest shareholder, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). The firm has hired Credit Suisse to advise on its options, including the potential sale of a Malaysia unit launched in 2005 that serves as a hub for southeast Asia. KFH did not give further details. A shift away from Malaysia, where KFH holds a valuable licence but lacks scale, would help it focus on Kuveyt Turk, the largest Islamic bank in Turkey with over 500 branches.

Kuwait Finance House mulls Malaysia exit in shift to Turkey

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is restructuring activities ahead of a planned divestment by its largest shareholder, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). Last week, KFH said it had hired Credit Suisse to advise on its options, including the potential sale of a Malaysia unit launched in 2005 that serves as a hub for southeast Asia. KFH did not give further details. A shift away from Malaysia, where KFH holds a valuable licence but lacks scale, would help it focus on Kuveyt Turk, the largest Islamic bank in Turkey with over 500 branches. Kuveyt Turk, 62 per cent owned by KFH, is in expansion mode: It plans to launch Germany's first full-fledged Islamic bank in July as a gateway to Europe.

SEDCO Holding Group agrees on an acquisition plan for 50% stake in a growing Turkish private school firm

SEDCO Holding Group, a Shariah-compliant private wealth management organization, has acquired a 50% stake in Mektebim Okullari, a company operating in the private education sector in Turkey. Anees Moumina, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group, and Ümit Kalko, Mektebim's founder and Chairman, signed the accord. Under a partnership agreement with the Turkish company which currently operates 17 schools from pre-school to high school levels, SEDCO Holding Group will own 50% of the company's shares and play an active part in the company's growth strategy in the region. The schools currently have over 4,000 students and Mektebim Okullari will add 8 more schools this year to its portfolio and has many other projects under consideration.

Turkey aims at luring foreign investment from Gulf region

The second International Investment Summit held in Istanbul between April 29-30 gathered international investment funds and investors from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, in total managing about 1.5 trillion dollars of Gulf investment funds. Turkey’s Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri I??k stated that Turkey is making huge efforts to facilitate foreign investments over the last decade, both for encouraging them to make joint ventures with the domestic firms and also investing jointly in third countries. Last year, Turkey has attracted about six billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investment, while the country aims to reach 80 billion U.S. dollars annually.

Good News and Bad News with ‘the Donald Trump of Turkey’

Turkey is a test-tube study in how emerging market (EM) countries reach developed status. As such, it is subject to the interactions between developed and emerging markets, including hot money capital flows, currency wars and the struggles with interest rate policy and inflation. The good news is that the banking system is functioning well and inflation is contained. The bad news is that Turkish financial markets are now subject to many of the adverse trends affecting all EM economies around the world. The central bank is under pressure from politicians to cut interest rates and devalue the Turkish currency to promote exports and tourism.

Bank Asya bonds languish even as control bets lift shares

Speculation that the Turkish government may be closer to relinquishing control of Bank Asya has stoked its stock to a record gain. Bondholders proved harder to please. Shares of the Istanbul-based lender soared more than 50% after it said most Class-A holders provided documentation to the regulator proving they’re qualified to be founding partners. The bank’s Islamic bond climbed about 3% to 61.474 cents on the dollar in the week of April 12. Government control is considered positive for bondholders. The bank’s Islamic bond due March 2023 jumped 38%, the most on record, when Turkey’s agency responsible for resolving failed banks seized control in February as investors bet authorities wouldn’t let the lender default.

Kuveyt Turk sells debut ringgit sukuk, applies for 1 bln lira deal

Turkish participation bank Kuveyt Turk has sold a debut deal of ringgit-denominated sukuk and has applied for a new 1 billion lira ($376 million) deal, as the lender looks to secure lower-cost financing. Kuveyt Turk, 62 percent owned by Kuwait Finance House , will sell the lira-denominated deal to qualified investors via its asset-leasing company, KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama. The ringgit five-year sukuk pays an annual yield of 5.8 percent, with the proceeds swapped into dollars to reduce the bank's funding costs to 4.4 percent. The 300 million ringgit sukuk is first issuance under a 2 billion ringgit programme.

Bank Asya Extends Rally on Optimism Government May Cede Control

Bank Asya climbed to the highest in seven months, extending last week’s record rally, amid optimism the lender may be released from government management. Shares in the company advanced 3.8 percent to 1.09 liras at 3:39 p.m. in Istanbul, the highest level since September. Bank Asya has gained more than 60 percent since April 9, when it said 152 shareholders, representing about 90 percent of Class A shares, delivered documents to the banking regulator proving they’re qualified to be founding partners. Bank Asya has been trading in a markets watchlist since September. Companies on the list trade under conditions of heightened surveillance, and trading is limited to the afternoon only.

Turkish deputy PM promotes Islamic finance at IMF meeting

Turkey, as the chair of G20 group, promotes Islamic finance because it offers additional financial instruments with less uncertainty and shared risks, according to the country’s deputy prime minister Ali Babacan. His comments were made during a panel discussion at the annual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group in Washington. Islamic finance is safer, according to Babacan, who cited the 2000 and 2009 financial crises. Also for regulation purposes, macro credential purposes, it is considered as a less risky kind of financing means, he added. The more countries develop stronger legal frameworks to support Islamic finance, the more attention the system would get as issuers and investors who are sensitive to Islamic rules participate in the structure.

Bank Asya shares jump by 42 percent following announcement

The value of the shares in Bank Asya have jumped 41.8 percent following a recent announcement by the bank saying documents belonging to 90 percent of privileged shareholders have been sent to the banking watchdog. The bank's shares were priced at TL 0.95 on Turkey's stock exchange, Borsa ?stanbul (B?ST), at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Thursday's reading was 76 percent higher than the historic low of TL 0.54, recorded in September 2014. The interim board established by the TMSF after the takeover announced on April 9 that 152 out of 185 privileged shareholders had submitted their documents to the BDDK. Since that day, Bank Asya shares have risen by 41.8 percent, strengthening shareholders' hand in their bid to take back the management of the bank.

Turkey's Alkhair Capital plans expansion, eyes Islamic bond advisory

Turkish Islamic asset manager Alkhair Capital plans to launch new funds this year and will start a service to advise on Islamic bonds, its general manager Ali Ilhan said. Alkhair Capital, majority-owned by Bahrain's Bank Alkhair, is the only full-fledged Islamic investment firm in the country, with AZ Global and BMD Securities offering some sharia-compliant products of their own. Last month, the firm raised its capital to 5 million lira ($1.86 million) from 2 million lira, to meet new capital requirements coming into force in July, a move that will also help fuel its expansion drive.

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