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Turkish-owned bank closes accounts of Turkish school staff in Kosovo

Banka Kombetare Tregtare, an Albanian bank owned by a Turkish corporation, is closing personal accounts of Gulistan Educational Institute staff in Kosovo.

Employees of International School of Prishtina who are clients of the Banka Kombetare Tregtare, BKT, woke up to a surprising text message on Tuesday morning, brusquely informing them that “according to internal policies” the bank would close their account within 30 days.

The bank, a branch of BKT Albania entirely owned by the Turkish company Calik Finance Services, took the decision to close the bank accounts of the Gulistan Educational Institute staff three weeks after six Turkish nationals — five of whom were employees of the school — were deported to Turkey.

The Central Bank of Kosovo, BQK, confirmed that the school has sent a complaint on Tuesday and that it is currently reviewing the case.

“Dear Customer, Banka Kombetare Tregtare notifies you that in line with its internal policy and procedures, based on the general terms and conditions of the Service Banking Contract, will undertake closing of your bank account, effective 30 days from the received notice date,” the text message sent by the Bank reads in original English. According to the text, clients are invited to visit their bank branches in order to ensure the “smooth” closure of their accounts.

The director of one of the Gulistan schools in Lipjan Nazmi Ulus, who is not a BKT client, told BIRN that a number of their staff who are were having issues accessing their accounts.

“There have been issues with personal accounts of the staff, but there have been no issues with the company’s account. Everyone who had an account with BKT, their account has been closed,” explained Ulus, adding that staff who use other banks have had no issues.

100 per cent of the shares of BKT, an Albania-based bank, are owned by Calik Finance Services since 2009.  The company is part of Calik Holding, a Turkish corporation that also owns the Kosovo Energy Distribution Services, KEDS.

BIRN reached out to BKT in Kosovo and Albania via email and phone, but has not received a response yet.

18/04/2018 - 09:40

18 April 2018 - 09:40

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.