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Ankara Rebuffs Claims Halkbank to be Replaced

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There is no work to replace Halkbank, says Mehmet Simsek, denying claims it would be replaced by Emlakbank.

A top Turkish official on Monday rebuffed claims that the functions of Turkey’s Halkbank would be transferred to another state-owned bank, Emlakbank.

“There is no such thing. Turkey’s banking watchdog will make the necessary explanation,” Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told reporters in Ankara, referring to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK).

The claims come amid U.S. probes into Halkbank over alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

Ankara has said many times that Halkbank did not break a national or an international law, nor did it violate UN sanctions on Iran.

"There is no work to replace Halkbank. The latest regulations aren’t related to Halkbank. The regulations were done to comply with the new trade law," said Mehmet Ali Akben, the head of the watchdog.

On Nov. 16, new regulations regarding the merger, division, transfer of assets, and exchange of bank shares were published in the Official Gazette.

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