Turkey bank eyes Islamic finance unit

Turkish state-run lender Halkbank has decided to establish an Islamic finance unit, in line with a government effort to develop the sector and tap a pool of investors in the Gulf and southeast Asia. The bank said its management would seek regulatory approval for the Islamic unit, known locally as a participation bank, but gave no further details on the plans. The Halkbank board has mandated the general management for the establishment of a participation bank, and to carry out the required processes for legal and administrative permissions, it said in a stock exchange filing. Since 2012, the Turkish government has pushed the development of Islamic finance by regulatory moves and issuing sukuk.