Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has targeted the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over its shares in Turkish lender İşbank, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
“It [the CHP] owns 28 percent of İşbank shares. It cannot earn money from that, but it has four board members. What do these four members do? This must be looked into,” Erdoğan told journalists on his return trip from Azerbaijan on Sunday.
“I say that an asset of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk should not be put under the name of any political party, but should be under the Treasury,” he added.
İşbank on Monday reacted to Erdoğan’s remarks, saying that it was too important “not to be made a subject of political debate.”
“It is good to see that Mr. Erdoğan says that the CHP does not get any money from İşbank. We had difficulty explaining it,” CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Monday in Ankara in response to questions from reporters concerning Erdoğan’s remarks.
“Why did Erdoğan take such an decision? I do not understand. Maybe he is pondering adding it to the Wealth Fund?”
The CHP chairman said his party only represents the shares of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in İşbank. “The money goes to the Turkish Language Society and the Turkish Historical Society because this was the will of Atatürk.”
The Wealth Fund has stakes in assets including Turkish Airlines, Türk Telekom, state lenders TC Ziraat Bankası AŞ and Türkiye Halk Bankası AŞ, state oil and pipeline companies, the national postal service, the stock exchange, the national lottery and the national railway.
President Erdoğan last week appointed himself chairman of Turkey’s sovereign Wealth Fund and his-son-in law and Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as his deputy chairman.