Turkish banks buy credit ratings agency JCR Eurasia

Turkey’s banks and financial institutions will buy 85 percent of credit ratings agency JCR Eurasia, in a deal that backed government efforts to establish a domestic ratings institution.

The purchase is aimed at supporting healthy economic growth and making use of resources efficiently through credit ratings, Turkey’s banking association said in a statement on Friday.

Turkey has frequently criticised international credit ratings Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, accusing them of bias. All three rate the country’s debt as junk after a series of downgrades in recent years.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the formation of a local ratings agency to help deal with the alleged problem, but economists say such an institution would lack credibility. Turkey is also seeking the means to rate assets including smaller local firms not covered by big institutions.

Japan Credit Ratings Agency’s stake in JCR Eurasia will fall to 15 percent following the conclusion of the deal. The country’s stock exchange -- Borsa Istanbul -- will hold 18.5 percent. Seventeen of Turkey’s banks and Islamic finance companies will each hold a 2.86 percent stake, the association said. Six of those owners are state-controlled, giving them a combined share of 17.2 percent..