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Should the Victims of Delisting Give Up Hope?

Recently I have talked with a stockbroker friend of mine about the past, about how we founded the association, and how we struggled on behalf of the market. He insistently told me “Ali, write all these so that people can know, write at least in the name of the victims of delisting.” I could not disoblige him. So the story begins as follows.

We have founded BORYAD, Turkish Shareholders Association, in 2001 in Üsküdar district of Istanbul. With great hopes and enthusiasm, we have rented a large office with a training hall and hung out a huge (2mx 20 m) sign. Located on a main street, the office was visited by many people who dropped occasionally and had tea or coffee. We lectured investors and talked about the stock exchange. The (now ruling) AK Party (Justice and Development Party)was in the establishment phase. And since the future Prime Minister, Honorable Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was our neighbor, he happened to see our sign when passing by and ordered his advisor to make contact with us. Our initial contact with the prospective Prime Minister has begun like that. We have been treated to many cups of tea in his modest, half-story private office in Emniyet Neighborhood, where there was a large ship model and where we have talked with his advisors about our projects and ideas. He was going to be the Prime Minister. At the time, no party had a communication center and that was a conspicuous deficiency and a huge necessity. When told about this issue, Mr. Erdoğan has quickly made a decision and opened the center in a very short time. AK PartyCommunication Center with the telephone number 444 25 44, was the ‘first’ of projects we have shared with. Mr. Erdoğan has urged us to contact the then Minister of Finance, Ali Babacan, and talk to him about our projects. Mr. Babacan, a very diligent and intelligent person, was working with a hardworking and well-meaning team. Executive AssistantMustafa Rumeli and Media Advisor Halit Ertuğrul were working round the clock. The government was new; the problems were huge, and the debt spiral was enormous. Before each tender by the Treasury, a lot of preparations had to be made. To cap it all, the Iraqi War broke out! Since a lot of problems were solved during that critical period, those who contributed should be mentioned.

The Prime Minister has encouraged us to promote investors not only in Turkey but also in international arena and represent Turkeyinfluentially in international investors’ federations. We too have believed in these advices and worked accordingly. At the international level, Turkey is represented in all investors’ organizations through BORYAD’s full membership status. We have kept our promise.

When the Prime Minister was told about delisted shares, he gave instructions. Although the problem arose before this government took the helm, it could solve the problem. And the Prime Minister has enabled us to meet with many ministers, notably with Deputy Prime MinisterAbdüllatif Şener, M. Ali Şahin, Kemal Unakıtan, Hilmi Güler, and Ali Babacan. May God be pleased with him. At the time, the TMSF (Saving Deposit Insurance Fund) hasapplied a different method at Göltaş Çimento and saved investors from getting wronged. Bills were prepared and solution suggestions were offered by the SPK (Capital Markets Board) to solve problems associated with delisted companies. SPK Chairman Doğan Cansızlar has worked hard as well. But in the meantime, the Uzan File has popped up. The cancellation of the privilege ofÇEAŞ and KEPEZ Elektrik A.Ş, the first and only suffering from delisting under AK Party’s rule, has happened as a result.

How could that unjust treatment be prevented without benefiting the Uzan Group? The SPK has prepared a bill of law upon the instruction of the Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Abdüllatif Şener and Hasan Fehmi Kinay,AK Party’s deputy for Kütahya have worked much but the TBMM (Turkish Grand National Assembly) has recessed and the work was put over to the new legislative year. Afterward, Abdüllatif Şener has left the Cabinet.
But our parliamentary marathon has continued in order to finalize the incomplete process. If only Uzans’ lawsuit at the international arbitration court came to a conclusion and a solution could be found.Taner Yıldız,Current Minister of Energy, was in the Energy Commission at the TBMM. He knows the issue very well. We have held many talks at the TBMM, at both the Planning and BudgetCommission and theEnergy Commission, and these talks have been put on record. When Uzans have lost the lawsuit at the arbitration court, before the appeal the Ministry of Energy has invited us to learn how this problem could be solved withoutserving as a model for Uzans.We have explained but Uzans have appealed the case…

When I have checked it out recently, I have seen that I had made more than 100 visits to the TBMM and Ankara. I have met with many ministers from the Cabinet. On the side of the opposition, I have had many talks with party leaders, deputies, and commission members. I cannot deny their initiatives, which will be the subject of another article. There are so many people who contributed, journalists who gave voice to the issue, and those who worked for solutionand deserving thanks. I would like to name them one by one, but some of them will be omitted in any case. We have spent much effort toconciliate some 400 thousand offended investors and never gave up hope. There was unjust treatment and that was causing pangs of conscience. I believe this problem will be solved one day. But difficulties arise at unexpected moments, the issueis left unfinished, waiting for the right time to come.

At the current state of affairs, Dear Mr. Prime Minister is busy and I am tired. I wait excitedly for him to give a new instruction. Prayers of 400 thousand aggrieved investors are with him. If only this problem was solved so that I could hand over the presidency of BORYAD to a new friend.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, I have been serving as BORYAD’s President for 12 years. Please spare me this burden. I have kept my promises and performed my duties. But the victims are still aggrieved… Non one can break this deadlock, except you. I await your help for those who were aggrieved and I know you will help them.

God help us all!

Sincerely Yours

Ali Bahçuvan