President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the government plans to transfer “Atatürk shares” owned by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in lender İşbank to the Treasury through a legal regulation with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in parliament.
At the bank, Atatürk shares are at 28.09 percent. Under modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s will, the profits of these shares go to the Turkish Language Institution and the Turkish History Institution, and the CHP has four members on the board.
“Let’s transfer what [Veteran] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s will stipulates to the Treasury, as this is not a right of individuals or the CHP. I believe that we can arrange this through a legal framework together with our friends at the MHP,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists on Oct. 9 on the way back from his two-day trip to Hungary.
“This is not about İşbank. Here the will of [Veteran] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk matters. [CHPleader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu said that no money entered their case. I am not saying the money enters your case. As you know, a particular amount of dividend is transferred to the Turkish Language Institution and the Turkish History Institution in line with a court decision. However, why does the CHP put four people on to the bank’s board? If they do not have any initiative, why does the party not pull these people out of the board?” he added.
In a statement, İşbank then said it was too important not to be made the subject of a political debate.
It said trust in banks needs to be preserved for the sake of the national economy.
Saying that the ownership and the representation of the Atatürk shares were determined independently from the Turkish İşbank’s legal personality and in accordance with Atatürk’s will, laws and judicial bills, the bank added: “From the past to now, the Atatürk shares were represented by the CHP and Treasury together or separately. This, however, did not make any impact on our bank’s business.”
Upon a question by reporters on Sept. 17, Kılıçdaroğlu had said the party did not take any money from the bank.
“We are not the partner of İşbank. We are just representing the Atatürk shares,” he then said, adding that CHP members in the bank management did not interfere in business operations.