Turkey’s banking agency files complaint against journalists, politicians over forex
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The Banking Regulatory and Supervision Agency (BDDK) has filed criminal complaints against several journalists, economists and opposition politicians over their comments about the recent foreign exchange fluctuations.
The agency claimed that the people in question violated article 74 of No. 5411 Banking Law, which states, “No real or legal person shall intentionally damage the reputation, prestige or assets of a bank or disseminate inaccurate news.”
The comments in question came following the Turkish lira’s massive slide was reversed after the government announced a “forex-protected lira deposit” system on December 20.
The opposition raised suspicions that the government had intentionally triggered the lira’s depreciation and, on December 20 night, the Central Bank pumped billions of dollars into the markets via “backdoor sales,” after which the lira rapidly gained ground.
While small investors incurred big losses, those who knew of the government’s move beforehand made huge profits, according to the opposition.
“They are trying to intimidate us”
İYİ (Good) Party Vice Chair and former Central Bank Governor Durmuş Yılmaz, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Burhanettin Bulut, economists Güldem Atabay and Selçuk Geçer and journalist Emin Çapa are those subject to the complaint.
After the BDDK’s complaint, MP Bulut said during a live broadcast on Halk TV that there was a “dirty money movement” that night. “Some people got rich. Who are they?”
He pointed out that the state-owned Halkbank released a TV advert for the “forex-protected deposit tool” shortly after it was introduced. “Even shooting that advert would take a couple of days. Some people knew of this in advance.”
“They can neither scare nor intimidate us with criminal complaints,” he remarked.
Economist Geçer said during the same program that “I’d be pleased if they opened an investigation into [what happened on] December 20.”
Emin Çapa, a Halk TV pundit, said, “The matter is not the reputation of the banks. They want to intimidate us. They want to silence us.”
Erdoğan: They committed a crime
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week that those who make “manipulative” comments on foreign exchange rates should give an account of what they did.
“Such statements and claims are against our laws. You can’t disseminate false news that damages the reputation of the Central Bank,” he had said.
Targeting the İYİ Party’s Yılmaz, the president had said, “That person who served as the governor of the Central Bank has committed this crime as well.” (HA/VK)