Turkey’s paramount regulatory authority, Capital Markets Board (CMB), today stripped Mert Ulker, AK Investment’s head of research, of his professional license after he accused in a report sent to clients the Turkish president Erdogan of possibly staging his own coup.
In a regulatory filing, CMB said it had cancelled Mr. Ulker’s capital markets activity licence and called him to face criminal charges over a report he wrote last week analyzing the July 15 coup attempt.
The Istanbul-based broker Ak Investment, the brokerage arm of Turkey’s second-largest bank, offers domestic and foreign capital markets products to retail and commercial customers. In the scope of brokerage services, the company provides its customers with a range of services including valuation, promotion campaigns, management of domestic and overseas marketing and sales. Since 2005, Ak Investment has successfully mediated numerous public offerings which are worth over 3 billion US dollars.
The harsh decision is part of a large-scale crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup, in which at least 246 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured. Since last Saturday, Turkish government has suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 50,000 officials. They include not just soldiers, but also policemen, judges, prosecutors, teachers, governors, university deans and others suspected of ties to Gulen’s movement since the July 15-16 coup.
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The Turkish authorities said that Ulker would face charges under articles 299 and 301 of the penal code covering insults to the president, the nation and state institutions.
More specifically, while Ulker’s was analyzing in his report the expected financial and economic effects of the failed coup, he hinted at a theory that is going around that “this coup was all a false flag attempt” by Erdogan to seize more power. In a more rational version of conspiracy theories, Ulker says that Erdogan at the very least knew of the coup and let it play out to his advantage.
The CMB’s statement didn’t say whether Ak Investment’s status was affected or not. However, the company’s general manager, Mert Erdogmus, told Reuters that Ulker was sacked on July 25 over the report, saying it contained “mistakes and a lack of foresight”, though he denied the move was linked to the board’s decision.
“Mert Ulker, our former head of research, had shared a report with investors on the morning of July 18 which does not reflect our institution’s views at all,” Erdogmus said.