Turkish opposition leader says party will keep bank shares after Erdoğan comments

Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Monday his Republican People’s Party (CHP) would not give up its shares in İş Bank, one of the countries biggest banks, Sözcü newspaper said.

Kılıçdaroğlu was responding to comments made on Sunday by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who implied the CHP should hand over the nearly 30 percent of the shares it owns in İş Bank to the Treasury.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP was not a “partner of İş Bank”, adding that it was a “good thing” that Erdoğan had pointed out that the CHP had not received money from the bank.

He also took aim at Erdoğan saying, “I wonder if he's considering transferring it (İş bank) to the Wealth Fund?” in reference to Turkey’s largely unaccountable sovereign wealth fund to which Erdoğan appointed himself chairman on Sept. 12, having sacked the previous board.

İş Bank also released a statement on Monday stating that the issue relating to the CHP’s ownership of shares in the bank had been taken to court many times previously and that no changes were necessary since it had no effect either on the bank’s functioning or the CHP’s income. 

Some social media users were not impressed by the questions regarding the CHP bank share ownership. One wondered whether Erdoğan had raised the issue as a distraction.

Another Twitter user suggested the row would do nothing to reassure businesses and individuals already nervous of investing in Turkey.

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