Transfer of CHP's İşbank shares to Treasury back on Erdoğan's agenda

The ruling AKP has reportedly resumed an effort to transfer the main opposition CHP's 28.1 percent stake in İşbank to the Treasury. AKP deputy chair Canikli presented a draft proposal regarding the issue to Erdoğan, who called for it to be revised and presented to him again "as soon as possible," daily Hürriyet reported on Feb. 13.

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The proposed transfer of a 28.1 percent stake in Turkey’s largest listed lender İşbank from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to the Treasury was discussed at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) this week, daily Hürriyet reported on Feb. 13.

AKP deputy chairman Nurettin Canikli presented a proposal to a party meeting on the transfer of the CHP stake to the Treasury, the daily said. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is also the AKP's chairman, reportedly called for the draft proposal to be revised and presented to him "as soon as possible."

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.

Shares of the bank fell after the news emerged.

Erdoğan said early last year that the CHP's stake in İşbank would be transferred to the Treasury “sooner or later.”

“They [the CHP] say they do not receive any money from the bank. You have four people on the board of the bank. It is not clear what those board members are doing there. The CHP’s shares in the bank will be transferred to the Treasury sooner or later,” Erdoğan had said on Feb. 11, 2019 during a speech in Ankara.

After the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, in 1938, his 28.1 percent stake in İşbank was transferred to the CHP. The CHP has four members on the İşbank executive board and the party do not get a dividend payout from the bank.

Under Atatürk’s will, the profits of these shares go to the Turkish Language Institution (TDK) and the Turkish History Institution (TKK).

In addition to the CHP stake, İşbank has a 31.4 percent free float and 40.5 percent is held by the İşbank pension fund.

Deniz Zeyrek, a political columnist of daily Sözcü, said in his article on Feb. 13 that Erdoğan's adviser Mehmet Uçum had found a formula for the shares' take-over. Uçum reportedly suggested that although the İşbank's shares would be transferred to the Treasury, their shares would continue going to the TDK and TKK.