Turkey's CHP calls on media group, bank to comment on 'unpaid' $750 million loan

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) called on the owner of Doğan Media, Turkey’s largest media group, and a state-run bank to respond to allegations that it failed to repay a $750 million loan used to purchase Doğan in March 2018.

The claims were made by Sedat Peker, a Turkish mafia boss who is living abroad, in the latest of a series of YouTube videos published on Sunday. Peker is alleging corrupt activities by top government officials and their links to organised crime.  

Peker said the state-run Ziraat Bank awarded the loan to Doğan’s owners Demirören Group. Demirören is chaired by Yıldırım Demirören.

“This fraudster never paid back a cent from this $750 million, do you know?” Peker said. “He didn’t even pay the interest.”

CHP Ankara parliamentarian Ali Haydar Hakverdi said on Twitter that the party had requested that Ziraat Bank comment on the loan a year ago, but the company refused to do so, citing customer confidentiality. The CHP now repeating the request and asking whether Ziraat is taking legal steps to recover the money if it has not been repaid, he said.

Peker also claimed that Demirören was not in control of Doğan, rather Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and former finance minister, and his brother Serhat Albayrak, who owns another top media company.

Ziraat Bank is Turkey’s largest state-run bank and is run by Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund, which was established in 2016. Erdoğan has chaired the fund since late 2018 after he acquired vast new presidential powers.