File photo of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph:( Reuters )
'God willing, Isbank will become a Treasury property,' Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in the parliament.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the country's largest private lender Isbank, partly owned by the main opposition party, would become a property of the Treasury, causing the bank's shares to plunge.
"God willing, Isbank will become a Treasury property," Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in the parliament.
"This parliament will make this historic decision with God's permission," he said.
Isbank, by its full name Turkish Is Bankasi, was established in 1924 by the founder of the modern Turkish republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
After Ataturk's death in 1938, his shares were transferred to the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
The CHP holds a 28 per cent stake in Isbank and appoints four members to the bank's board.
The party vigorously opposes the transfer of Isbank's shares to the Treasury and has denounced it as political manoeuvering ahead of March local elections.
Erdogan's comments caused a drop of around three per cent in the bank's share price, but it later recovered from its worst levels.
Last year, Erdogan said it would be more appropriate for the holding to be under the Treasury's control, saying "the shares of Ataturk" should not belong to a political party.