Gov’t-appointed Bank Asya director urged minister to stop bank’s closure

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An email sent in July by a government-appointed director to Bank Asya to Berat Albayrak, the energy minister and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, shows that the director urged the government not to close down the Islamic tender due to its successful performance in the participation banking sector.

In the aftermath of a failed military coup attempt on July 15, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government closed down Bank Asya on the grounds that it was linked to the faith-based Gülen movement

Despite US-based Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is the inspirer of the Gülen movement, having repeatedly denied the accusations and proposing the formation of an international commission to investigate the coup attempt, the government accuses the movement of masterminding the putsch.

Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had already taken over management of Bank Asya and took control of 63 percent of its privileged shares, enough to name the board, in February 2015. New board members, a general manager and deputy general managers were appointed immediately.

The email in question to Albayrak is one of the hundreds of leaked emails of the energy minister.

Turkish Marxist hacker group RedHack seized the email account of Energy Minister Albayrak last week and has begun to disclose the contents after its demand for the release of two socialist writers who are currently in jail was ignored by authorities.

The email about Bank Asya was written on July 19 by Betül Vural Yılmaz, who was appointed to the bank as its new human resources director after it was taken over by the TMSF.

In the email Yılmaz tells Albayrak why closing down Bank Asya would be a wrong decision. Citing figures related to the bank’s successful performance in the participation banking sector, Yılmaz said the bank had already been “cleansed” of Gülen sympathizers and was even the “cleanest” bank among others.

“Bank Asya is the driving force of the sector, and when it is driven out of the field, the participation banking sector will have been dealt a heavy blow,” she wrote.

Yılmaz said most of the bank’s employees, whom she described as pious, hardworking and honest, were supporters of the AKP government and that they always prayed for the government and the president.
She said these people should be given a chance to continue working at the bank because when they lose their jobs due to the bank’s closure, they will be labeled Gülen sympathizers and will not be able to find jobs.

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