Skip to main content

Why did Turkey seize Bank Asya?

A Turkish government agency made the unprecedented move of taking control of the management of the financially sound Bank Asya.
Supporters of the Gulen movement read the Koran as they gather in front of the Bank Asya headquarters in Istanbul February 4, 2015. Turkey has taken control of Bank Asya, the Islamic lender caught up in a feud between President Tayyip Erdogan and his ally-turned-foe, U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The action by Turkey's banking regulatory authorities follows a run on deposits at Bank Asya last year when the lender became embroiled in the power struggle between Erdogan and Gulen, whose followers h

In September 2014, in an address to the Turkish Industry and Business Association, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the following statement: “No effort is underway to cause the bankruptcy of a bank. That bank is already bankrupt. They are carrying water by hand to keep it afloat.”

Erdogan’s remarks, which targeted Bank Asya, owned by businesspeople close to the Gulen community, made headlines the following day, creating the impression that the bank had collapsed. Making such comments about a financial institution constitutes a dangerous move, as it could cause panic among clients and lead to mass deposit withdrawals. The headlines, however, failed to spark fear or panic among Bank Asya clients. They were all aware that the bank's Gulenist links had put it in the government's crosshairs.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.