(Updates with quotes, background, details)
ANKARA, March 16 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)