PETALING JAYA: New investment opportunities for foreign companies have come to the fore in Turkey with the announcements of the creation of new Islamic banks by the government.
The nation’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan indicated that he gave directives to the two biggest state-owned banks – Ziraat Bank and the Halk Bankasi – to establish two new participation banks.
Muhammed Islami Onal, the economic counsellor of Turkey in Malaysia, said foreign investors can apply for new licences to start the new participation banks, adding that the investment should be no less than 30 million New Turkish liras or US$17 million (RM51.7 million).
“With their background, knowledge, experience and pioneer roles in Islamic banking and finance, the Malaysian investors are more than welcomed to get involved in the growing Islamic banking- finance market in Turkey,” Muhammed Islami told The Malaysian Reserve.
The third top ranking bank in Turkey, Garanti Bankasi, announced that it too had plans for a new participation bank, thus offering greater opportunities for foreign investors.
Muhammed Islami said Turkey should be a market to invest for Malaysians with the very close relationship between the two nations and between Bank Negara Malaysia and the Central Bank of Turkey, and the Securities Commission and the Capital Markets Board.
Between December 2011 and June 2012, the participation bank’s growth rates of assets, loans and deposits were about 8.7%, 13% and 8.4% respectively while the same rates were 4.6%, 8% and 3.3% for the whole banking sector, while the average growth rate of the assets rose to a total of 26.1% for the past four years.
Turkey has 49 banks, four of which are participation banks. Participation banks are interest free banking banks, being Syariah-compliant and are not called Islamic banks in Turkey.
So far nine conventional and two participation banks are listed in Turkey’s Stock Exchange with market capitalisation of US$96.7 billion and US$2.09 billion respectively.
Ziraat Bank has aspirations abroad with the largest international service network of any Turkish bank comprising many service points in numerous countries.
Halk Bankasi is listed as an active player in structured finance deals, participating in syndication and securisation deals in favour of other banks.