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ANKARA, March 16 (Reuters) - Turkey will repay all the foreign loan obligations of seized Islamic lender Bank Asya, including a coupon payment on a $250 million sukuk that was due in September, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told the state-run Anadolu agency on Thursday.
Bank Asya was founded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup last July. It has been hit along with other Gulen-linked companies in a government crackdown.
Even before the attempted coup, in which more than 240 people were killed, authorities had already seized Bank Asya as part of operations against Gulen’s network. Several media companies were also closed or taken over and businessmen detained on allegations of funding the cleric’s movement.
A tender last year to sell the lender did not attract any bids, prompting the government to start a process to liquidate the bank. Canikli said the process was underway and would be completed within three years.
The bank’s foreign loan payments were going to be paid back, he said in an interview with Anadolu, adding that included the coupon on the sukuk.
“Bank Asya has an outstanding sukuk of around $250 million,” he said. “The coupon payment which was due for September has been delayed but it will be made.”
Turkey was not considering to transfer any Treasury funds during the liquidation of the bank, he added.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had vowed to choke off businesses linked to Gulen, describing his schools, firms and charities as “nests of terrorism” and promising no mercy in rooting them out.
Reporting by Ercan Gurses and Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by David Dolan