Turkey appears to close on bank deal with UAE despite rift


A United Arab Emirates bank may agree to buy Turkey’s Denizbank within weeks, sources exclusively told Reuters, despite a rift between Turkey and Gulf states.

Reuters said Turkish bank Denizbank had to convince President Tayyip Erdogan of the benefits of the potential $5.3 billion deal.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, orignally said it wanted to buy Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank in January, but four sources told the news agency that Erdogan resisted it.

If he wanted to block the deal, Reuters said, Erdogan could tell the country’s BDDK banking watchdog not to approve it.

The news agency called these repeated efforts by Denizbank’s chief executive to persuade Erdogan an illustration of how important the Turkish president’s role is in landing major deals in his country.

The deal is awaiting approval but should be agreed upon in “the next few weeks,” one of the sources had said.

Turkey has experienced some relationship issues lately with the Gulf states after they began a boycott against fellow Gulf neighbor Qatar for alleged ties to terrorist groups. Ankara sided with Qatar when it denied the accusations.

The United Arab Emirates also calls Erdogan’s AK Party an ally to Islamist forces that UAE opposes, and Reuters said last week the UAE’s foreign minister claimed to be facing challenges from Iran, Israel and Turkey.

Arab world’s largest private broadcaster also stopped showing Turkish television programs this month.

“I’m not saying this deal will fall through, but it wouldn’t be realistic to say these developments are supportive of the negotiations,” one senior official in Ankara told the news agency.

Emirates NBD, Sberbank and Denizbank all declined to comment to Reuters, as did Erdogan’s office.


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