Treasury to Take Over Turkey’s Largest Listed Bank, Erdogan Says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated his campaign to seize the nation’s largest listed lender, Turkiye Is Bankasi A.S., calling for a parliamentary vote on the takeover, Bloomberg News reported. Shares of the lender, which is part owned by the main opposition party, tumbled after Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling AK party in Ankara on Tuesday that “Isbank will become the property of the Treasury, with the permission of God.” With the financial sector reeling from mounting bad debts and the onset of a recession, a political melee over Isbank before municipal elections in March risks further rattling investors. Isbank shares fell almost 7 percent, their steepest decline since a market rout in August 2018. "Inevitably financial markets will be nervous to this kind of ’interventionist’ news in the run up to the local elections at the end of March," said Nigel Rendell, a London-based senior analyst at Medley Global Advisors. It’s not the first time Erdogan has mingled a desire to expand his power over the financial system with an election campaign. Before last year’s presidential vote, he pledged to take greater control of monetary policy, helping trigger a crisis in the lira. Read more

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