Erdogan appoints himself head of Turkey wealth fund

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed himself chairman of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund and named his son-in-law and Finance Minister as deputy chairman. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Erdogan appoints himself head of Turkey wealth fund

  • The fund was established in August 2016 and tens of billions of dollars worth of state assets including — wholly state-owned — Ziraat Bank were transferred to it in 2017
  • The fund’s other assets include the state’s minority 49.12-percent shareholding in flag carrier Turkish Airlines, as well as state-owned enterprises such as the PTT Turkish post office

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday appointed himself the chairman of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund and named his son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as deputy chairman.
Zafer Sonmez, who was head of Turkey and Africa for Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, was named as the fund’s general manager in presidential decrees published in the official gazette.
One of Erdogan’s advisers mainly known for his outlandish statements, Yigit Bulut, was removed from the board, while new members included Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).
Erdogan last year said the fund needed a “reorganization” after the first chairman Mehmet Bostan was removed from his post in September 2017.
The fund was established in August 2016 and tens of billions of dollars worth of state assets including — wholly state-owned — Ziraat Bank were transferred to it in 2017.
The fund’s other assets include the state’s minority 49.12-percent shareholding in flag carrier Turkish Airlines, as well as state-owned enterprises such as the PTT Turkish post office.
Turkish Airlines is regarded as one of Turkey’s crown jewel assets and its size is set to grow further with the move to a giant new Istanbul airport as its main hub in October.
The fund was set up in the aftermath of the attempted overthrow of Erdogan in July 2016. Its establishment was seen as a way of tightening state control over Turkey’s assets.
Such funds can be used for large projects, maintaining pensions and national welfare programs, or in times of crisis.


Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

Updated 25 September 2018
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Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

  • Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million
  • The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payment

DUBAI: New foreign direct investment in Bahrain more than doubled in the first nine months of 2018 as the kingdom marketed itself as a base for companies to access the region, especially Saudi Arabia, data released on Tuesday showed.
Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million from 76 firms, said the Economic Development Board, an investment promotion agency. That compared to $733 million in all of 2017, and was over five times the amount of FDI in 2015.
The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payments, which has been under pressure as the kingdom runs fiscal and current account deficits fueled by low oil prices.
The central bank’s net foreign reserves hit a one-year low of 499.4 million dinars ($1.32 billion) in July, although they rebounded to 734.2 million dinars last month.
Manufacturing and logistics accounted for most foreign investment in the first nine months of this year, the EDB said. Some companies are locating operations in Bahrain to take advantage of reforms in Saudi Arabia, which aims to develop non-oil industries such as mining, light manufacturing and tourism.
Bahrain also wants to become a center for financial technology; last year it created a “regulatory sandbox” allowing companies in the field to experiment without facing normal regulatory constraints.
This year it established a $100 million fund of funds to support technology start-ups across the region, which it hopes will attract venture capital firms to Bahrain.