Turkey Halts Gulen-Linked Bank Asya Operations After Failed Coup

Turkey halted the operations of Bank Asya, an Islamic lender linked to exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, as the government widened a purge after a failed coup attempt this weekend.

The ruling came from Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund and trading in the lender’s shares will remain suspended, according to a stock exchange statement Monday.

The bank was founded by followers of the cleric, who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for instigating Friday night’s attempt to overthrow him, and has been embroiled in the feud between the two men since 2013. The government seized the Istanbul-based lender last year, citing its “unclear ownership structure,” and in March said that it would be liquidated by the end of May unless a buyer could be found.

Erdogan himself attended the founding of the bank in 1996 and was a close ally of Gulen for many years. Asya’s asset base has shrunk from its height of 28.4 billion liras in 2013 (then $13.2 billion) -- the year when the two became enemies after Erdogan said Gulen was behind a corruption scandal which he saw as an attempt to depose him.

The bank’s stock had risen 45 percent this year on speculation of a sale.

— With assistance by Selcuk Gokoluk

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