Report: gslamic bank seeks out employees with AK Party references

The state-run Ziraat Bankasi, which will open an Islamic banking branch at the end of the month, has requested applicants to provide three references from ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials, according to a report in the Millet daily on Monday.

Anonymous sources that provided Millet with the information claimed that the procedure is being conducted to prevent members of the “parallel structure” from being hired by the bank. The “parallel structure” or “parallel state” is a term frequently used by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters to refer to members of the Gulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Ever since widespread corruption allegations targeting ruling party politicians and associates — in addition to Erdogan and his family — emerged in December of 2013, prominent ruling party leaders have purged large numbers of people believed to be close to the Hizmet movement from the police force and judiciary, alleging that they had formed a parallel state.

However, the method will also effectively bar supporters of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from being hired at the new islamic lender, noted Millet.

Islamic banking presently constitutes 5 percent of the overall sector in Turkey, and there are four such lenders — Albaraka Turk, Bank Asya, Kuveyt Turk and Turkiye Finans — currently operating in the country. Bank Asya, which was founded by individuals affiliated with the Hizmet movement, has made headlines numerous times since the corruption scandals were publicized in late 2013, as the government has made a number of attempts to sink the Islamic lender, most recently with the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) seizing management of the bank this February.