By. Justin Mays
More political and economic shakeups are happening in Turkey this week as President Recep Tayip Erdogan has pledged reforms to rebuild Turkey’s credibility with investors. Notably Hakan Atilla has resigned as the general manager of istanbul Stock Exchange (Borsa istanbul). Borsa Istanbul is owned by the Turkey Wealth Fund and its board of directors has accepted his resignation. Last year the Qatar Investment Authority purchased a 10 percent stake in Borsa Istanbul for $200m. The stock exchange operator has its annual shareholders’ meeting on March 26 and is planning a public offering next year. Atilla’s resignation comes ahead of a trial in the US of Halkbank, his former bank, over accusations it helped Iran evade sanctions. His replacement has not been announced.
Attila served as the state-run Halkbank's deputy chief executive responsible for international banking between 2011 and 2018. In 2018 Atilla was convicted in a New York court on bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges for helping Iran evade US sanctions for its nuclear program in 2012-2013. He served 28 months in prison in the US as part of a lawsuit against Halkbank. Now Halkbank itself is due to go on trial in the US for helping Iran gain access to the US financial system. The court also accuses Turkish and Iranian “high-ranking government officials” of receiving bribes worth tens of millions of dollars. Halkbank has denied any misconduct and states that the transactions were in line with international regulations.
According to the Financial Times, President Erdogan, has requested that the US government dismiss the charges against Halkbank and has struck a conciliatory tone since Joe Biden was elected US president, calling for greater co-operation between the NATO partners. Recent turnover at leading positions in key financial institutions is paving the way for foreign investment in Turkey. Ankara is due to announce an economic package outlining plans for sustainable economic growth and to curb high inflation this week.