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Transfer of opposition party shares in Turkey’s largest bank back on agenda: report

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The proposed transfer of a 28 percent stake in Turkey’s largest listed lender İşbank from the main opposition party to the Treasury was discussed at a meeting of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) this week, Reuters reported, citing the Hürriyet daily.

AKP Deputy Chairman Nurettin Canikli presented a proposal to a party meeting on the transfer of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) stake to the Treasury, and Erdoğan called for it to be revised and presented to him as soon as possible, Hürriyet said.

Shares in İşbank fell 2.79 percent in early trade to 6.98 lira on the İstanbul Stock Exchange after the news emerged.

Canikli was expected to prepare two alternative proposals on the issue and present them to an AKP central executive committee meeting on Feb. 17, Hürriyet said.

In February of last year Erdoğan said the Treasury would take over the CHP’s İşbank stake, which was bequeathed to the party by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic.

The CHP, which appoints four members to İşbank’s board, opposes the move by Erdoğan, who said that Ataturk had bequeathed the stake to the Treasury, not the party.

The free float of İşbank shares stands at around 33 percent, while the bank’s pension fund holds a 39 percent stake. The CHP has 28.09 percent share.

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