Turkey’s top media watchdog head appointed board member to state-run Halkbank

Turkey’s state-run Halkbank appointed on Friday the head of the country's media watchdog, Ebubekir Şahin, as a board member, Sözcü newspaper reported.

The decision to appoint Şahin, the head of Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), was taken during Halkbank’s ordinary general meeting on June 12, it said. 

Şahin will be replacing board member Mehmet Emin Özcan for a three-year period.

Şahin’s appointment follows that of Hamza Yerlikaya - a former Olympic wrestler turned senior advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - to the board of directors at another state-owned bank, Vakıfbank, earlier on Friday.

Both moves have come under strong criticism from the country’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for the appointments of those with close ties to Erdoğan to the country’s state-owned banks and receiving separate salaries from public institutions.

“It’s a plundering of public resources that Şahin, who has no connection or knowledge on banking, will be paid a salary from Halkbank,” Sözcü quoted RTÜK board member affiliated with the CHP, İlhan Taşçı, as saying.

RTÜK has come under criticism for coming under increasing influence of Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party.

In October of last year, Halkbank was indicted for Iran sanctions violations and money laundering in an ongoing case that has made international headlines.