From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)
Cihan News Agency | Cihan News Agency | 13 November 2003
ISTANBUL - The Turkish government will take precautions against an increase in banking activities and the purchase of land in northern Iraq. The Turkish government plans to respond to activities of "Kurdish Credit Bank" which grants loans to Kurdish people to purchase land belonging to the Arab and Turkmen people in northern Iraq, by opening a branch of the Turkish state-owned Ziraat Bank in the region.
The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) Ankara Representative Ahmet Muratli said that they have discovered that Israel was behind these banking activities in the region. He said he immediately informed the Turkish government about these activities several months ago and as a result they persuaded state-owned Ziraat Bank to become active in the region.
Muratli said that northern Iraq has great importance in terms of both potential commercial and strategic importance and they applied to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Turkish Treasury to establish a branch of the Turkish owned bank.
Muratli said, "Everyone wants Ziraat Bank or another Turkish bank in the region. Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen businessmen personally conveyed their demands to Turkish officials in Ankara."
'Purchasing land in Mosul is encouraged'
Iraq is an oil rich region and has the second largest oil reserves in the world. Northern Iraq produces approximately 70 percent of all Iraqi's oil reserves. The Kurdish Credit Bank has subsequently caused worries among the Turkmen and Arab people.
Muratli said the Kurdish Credit Bank is centered in the city of Suleymaniya in northern Iraq and the Bank was established through the assistance of Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party. Muratli said they discovered after exhaustive research that Israel was behind the creation of the Kurdish Credit Bank.
Muratli said, "Kurdish groups at first wanted to seize the homes and property of Turkmen and Arab people, who form a majority in the Mosul and Kerkuk regions, by force. When the Kurdish groups were not successful in their efforts, they wanted to purchase these homes and property by paying for it. When we talked with Arab tribes, they said that Jewish Kurds and Israelis began to purchase property. The Jewish Kurds and Jewish Arabs, who have obtained long term and interest-free loans from the Kurdish Credit Bank, began to purchase property, which was allegedly their property in the past. We are following the developments very closely."
Investment-Development Banking needs specialization and Kurds are not specialized in this area
Experts on the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Middle East said that Kurdish groups, who do not have experience in banking, are certainly assisted by some unidentified groups.
A former Department Head at the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Mahir Kaynak said, "It is certainly necessary for Kurds in northern Iraq to receive asistance from foreign countries. It is necessary to establish a bank in the region in order to carry out daily banking transactions and Turkey must act urgently in this field."
Kaynak said that investment-development banks have a wide experience in this field and Kurdish groups can establish such a bank with the help of Jewish businessmen, who are very powerful in world financial markets.
The General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Ziraat Bank, Can Akin Caglar said they were researching the new banking laws of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council very closely. He said Ziraat Bank has been continuing discussions with Iraqi officials to open a branch in Iraq as a private bank. Caglar said, "We will determine in time which path we will follow. We continue to be interested in this country and I hope that we have positive results."