Corruption Charges Ruffle Turkey ETF

December 18th at 3:52pm by Tom Lydon

The Turkey exchange traded fund is regaining some lost ground after Turkish stocks plunged Monday on a slew of corruption charges.

The iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (NYSEArca: TUR) is up 2.1% Tuesday after falling 5% Monday. The ETF is down 19.9% year-to-date. [Be Choosy With Emerging Market ETFs]

Suleyman Aslan, CEO of Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, and Murat Kurum, CEO at Emlak Konut, along with a dozen others, including the sons of three cabinet ministers, were taken into custody during a probe into gold smuggling, money laundering and bribery in government tenders, reports Isobel Finkel for Bloomberg.

“Investors were blindsided by the developments yesterday morning,” Julian Rimmer, a trader at CF Global Trading UK Ltd., said in the article. “Halkbank has long been considered among investors the best bank in Turkey owing to its higher return on equity.”

HalkBank tanked 13% since its CEO was taken in. TUR has a 5.7% allocation toward HalkBank, along with a 3.2% position in Emlak Konut.

“The best-held bank on the Istanbul Stock Exchange falling 15 percent in 24 hours with just two weeks of the year remaining is an unmitigated disaster for many portfolio managers and now they have a dilemma,” Rimmer added.

According to a Dec. 16 filing, BlackRock increased its exposure in HalkBank to 26 million shares, or a 2.1% stake, and raised its position in Emlak Konut to 1.4% with an additional 500,000 shares.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced the charges as a smear campaign ahead of municipality elections, hinting at the movement of U.S-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are influential in Turkey’s police and judiciary, Reuters reports.

“As we fight to make Turkey in the top 10 countries of the world … some are engaged in an effort to halt our fast growth. There are those abroad … and there are extensions of them within our country,” Erdogan said.

iShares MSCI Turkey ETF

For more information on Turkey, visit our Turkey category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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