Read the Full Transcript of Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley College Commencement Speech In it, she shares how she got through last year’s election loss.

In 1969, Hillary Rodham delivered the first-ever Wellesley college student commencement speech. Now 48 years later, the former Secretary of State returned to her alma mater to give the commencement address.

Read a full transcript of her speech below:

Thank you so much for that warm welcome. I am happy to be back here at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s first commencement and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college. What it stands for, what it has meant and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say congratulations to the class of 2017.

Now, I have some of my dear friends here from my class. A green class of 1969. And I assume or at least you can tell me later unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the college and all who have come to celebrate this day with you and to recognize the amazing futures that await you. You know, four years ago maybe a little more or less for some of you.

Just a minute. I’ve got to get a lozenge. Thank you. I told the trustees I was sitting with after hearing Paula’s speech I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion.

But you know, you arrived at this campus, you arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now, maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you’ve never wavered. But maybe you changed your major three times and your hair style twice as many as that. Or maybe after your first month of classes you made a frantic collect call—ask your parents what that was—back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here.

My father said okay, come home. My mother said you have to stick it out. That’s what happened to me. But whatever your path, you dream big. You probably in true Wellesley fashion planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’re been waiting for and maybe dreading a little is finally here. As President Johnson said, I spoke at my commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

You may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire commencement speech about them but was talked out of it.

Long walks in the woods. Organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little too. Here’s what helped most of all. Remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This college gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now, if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my commencement. I’ve been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis. Writing and editing the speech. By the time we gathered in the academic quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortar board made it even worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friend his asked me to do was to talk about our worries and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them. We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30.

In large part, thanks to years of heavy casualties and statements about Vietnam and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants would ever be treated with dignity and respect. And by the way, we were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice. After firing the person running the investigation into him at the department of justice.

But here’s what I want you to know. We got through that tumultuous time and once again we began to thrive as our society changed laws and opened the circle of opportunity and rights wider and wider for more Americans. We revved up the engines of imagination. We turned back a tide of intolerance and embraced inclusion. The we who did those things were more than those in power who wanted to change course. It was millions of ordinary citizens, especially young people who voted, marched and organized. Now, of course today has some important differences.

The advance of technology, the impact of the Internet, our fragmented media landscape, make it easier than ever to splinter ourselves into echo chambers. We can shut out contrary voices, avoid ever questioning our basic assumptions. Extreme views are given powerful microphones. Leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism have tools at their disposal that were unimaginable when I graduated.

And here’s what that means to you, the class of 2017. You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason. Just log on to social media for ten seconds. It will hit you right in the face. People denying science, concocting elaborate, hurtful conspiracies theories about child abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors. Drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor. Turning neighbor against neighbor and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity. Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes. Like the size of crowds.

And then defending themselves by talking about “alternative facts.” But this is serious business. Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington. It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us, the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hardworking people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life. It grossly underfunds public education, mental health, and efforts even to combat the opioid epidemic. And in reversing our commitment to fight climate change, it puts the future of our nation and our world at risk.

And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it. Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll never solve them. It matters because it undermines confidence in government as a whole which in turn breeds more cynicism and anger. But it also matters because our country, like this college, was founded on the principles of the enlightenment. In particular, the belief that people, you and I, possess the capacity for reason and critical thinking. And that free and open debate is the life blood of a democracy.

Not only Wellesley, but the entire American university system, the envy of the world, was founded on those fundamental ideals. We should not abandon them. We should revere them. We should aspire to them every single day in everything we do.

And there’s something else. As the history majors among you here today know all too well, when people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society.

That is not hyperbole. It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. They attempt to control reality. Not just our laws and our rights and our budgets, but our thoughts and beliefs. Right now some of you might wonder well, why am I telling you all this? You don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of congress. Yet.

Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America, indeed the future of the world, depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity right now every day. You didn’t create these circumstances but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the playwright, the first president of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it he said, the moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, the emperor is naked. When a single person breaks the rules of the game thus exposing it as a game, everything suddenly appears in another light.

What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore online and in person. Eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a nasty woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of teach with real people. In other words, sit down and shut up. Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it.

After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves and to learn from them so that we can have the kind of open fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

Second, you learn the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free marketplaces of ideas. Embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of an anecdote to a closed society where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act.

Here at Wellesley you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and discrimination of all kinds and you’ve shared your own stories and at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that. And let me add that your learning, listening and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country. Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on.

Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and information. It must be addressed or they will continue to sign up to be foot soldiers in the ongoing conflict between us and them. The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of those same people don’t want dreamers deported or health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

Here at Wellesley you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital. They only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This college has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already not to be ministered unto but to minister is as true today as it ever was. You think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement. Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

Not long ago I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out and like a lot of people they’re wondering what do we do now? Well, I think there’s only one answer. Keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger. Those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private, in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods, and do it in public. In media posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote. And while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election. Not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law abiding citizens to be able to vote as well.

Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one. Start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything. But don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself someday.

Now, that’s not for everybody. I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, it’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.

As Paula said, the day after the election, I did want to speak, particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women. Because you are valuable. And powerful. And deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course. But we also need your compassion. Your curiosity. Your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

You know, our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments, for whatever reason, when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it will help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future. One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them.

And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called onward together to help recruit and train future leaders, organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends. When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible. That was true then. It’s truer today.

I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later. Certainly never that I would have run for the presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling. Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now open. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through. To advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom. So whatever your dreams today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you to. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good.

Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try. Fail. Try again and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams. I’m have been optimistic about the future. Because I think after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you with all my heart. I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth. Be great. But first graduate. Congratulations!

 

” target=”_blank”>Watch Hillary Clinton Wellesley College Commencement Speech

‘I Wish You Bad Luck.’ Read Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’ Unconventional Speech to His Son’s Graduating Class

 

Thank you very much.

Rain, somebody said, is like confetti from heaven. So even the heavens are celebrating this morning, joining the rest of us at this wonderful commencement ceremony. Before we go any further, graduates, you have an important task to perform because behind you are your parents and guardians. Two or three or four years ago, they drove into Cardigan, dropped you off, helped you get settled and then turned around and drove back out the gates. It was an extraordinary sacrifice for them. They drove down the trail of tears back to an emptier and lonelier house. They did that because the decision about your education, they knew, was about you. It was not about them. That sacrifice and others they made have brought you to this point. But this morning is not just about you. It is also about them, so I hope you will stand up and turn around and give them a great round of applause. Please.

Now when somebody asks me how the remarks at Cardigan went, I will be able to say they were interrupted by applause. Congratulations, class of 2017. You’ve reached an important milestone. An important stage of your life is behind you. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you it is the easiest stage of your life, but it is in the books. While you’ve been at Cardigan, you have all been a part of an important international community as well. And I think that needs to be particularly recognized.

[Roberts gave brief remarks in other languages.]

Now around the country today at colleges, high schools, middle schools, commencement speakers are standing before impatient graduates. And they are almost always saying the same things. They will say that today is a commencement exercise. ‘It is a beginning, not an end. You should look forward.’ And I think that is true enough, however, I think if you’re going to look forward to figure out where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and to look back as well. And I think if you look back to your first afternoon here at Cardigan, perhaps you will recall that you were lonely. Perhaps you will recall that you were a little scared, a little anxious. And now look at you. You are surrounded by friends that you call brothers, and you are confident in facing the next step in your education.

It is worth trying to think why that is so. And when you do, I think you may appreciate that it was because of the support of your classmates in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the dorms. And as far as the confidence goes, I think you will appreciate that it is not because you succeeded at everything you did, but because with the help of your friends, you were not afraid to fail. And if you did fail, you got up and tried again. And if you failed again, you got up and tried again. And if you failed again, it might be time to think about doing something else. But it was not just success, but not being afraid to fail that brought you to this point.

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

Now commencement speakers are also expected to give some advice. They give grand advice, and they give some useful tips. The most common grand advice they give is for you to be yourself. It is an odd piece of advice to give people dressed identically, but you should — you should be yourself. But you should understand what that means. Unless you are perfect, it does not mean don’t make any changes. In a certain sense, you should not be yourself. You should try to become something better. People say ‘be yourself’ because they want you to resist the impulse to conform to what others want you to be. But you can’t be yourself if you don’t learn who are, and you can’t learn who you are unless you think about it.

The Greek philosopher Socrates said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ And while ‘just do it’ might be a good motto for some things, it’s not a good motto when it’s trying to figure out how to live your life that is before you. And one important clue to living a good life is to not to try to live thegood life. The best way to lose the values that are central to who you are is frankly not to think about them at all.

So that’s the deep advice. Now some tips as you get ready to go to your new school. Other the last couple of years, I have gotten to know many of you young men pretty well, and I know you are good guys. But you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you are privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it.

When you get to your new school, walk up and introduce yourself to the person who is raking the leaves, shoveling the snow or emptying the trash. Learn their name and call them by their name during your time at the school. Another piece of advice: When you pass by people you don’t recognize on the walks, smile, look them in the eye and say hello. The worst thing that will happen is that you will become known as the young man who smiles and says hello, and that is not a bad thing to start with.

You’ve been at a school with just boys. Most of you will be going to a school with girls. I have no advice for you.

The last bit of advice I’ll give you is very simple, but I think it could make a big difference in your life. Once a week, you should write a note to someone. Not an email. A note on a piece of paper. It will take you exactly 10 minutes. Talk to an adult, let them tell you what a stamp is. You can put the stamp on the envelope. Again, 10 minutes, once a week. I will help you, right now. I will dictate to you the first note you should write. It will say, ‘Dear [fill in the name of a teacher at Cardigan Mountain School].’ Say: ‘I have started at this new school. We are reading [blank] in English. Football or soccer practice is hard, but I’m enjoying it. Thank you for teaching me.’ Put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it. It will mean a great deal to people who — for reasons most of us cannot contemplate — have dedicated themselves to teaching middle school boys. As I said, that will take you exactly 10 minutes a week. By the end of the school year, you will have sent notes to 40 people. Forty people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did. No one else is going to carry that dividend during your time at school.

Enough advice. I would like to end by reading some important lyrics. I cited the Greek philosopher Socrates earlier. These lyrics are from the great American philosopher, Bob Dylan. They’re almost 50 years old. He wrote them for his son, Jesse, who he was missing while he was on tour. It lists the hopes that a parent might have for a son and for a daughter. They’re also good goals for a son and a daughter. The wishes are beautiful, they’re timeless. They’re universal. They’re good and true, except for one: It is the wish that gives the song its title and its refrain. That wish is a parent’s lament. It’s not a good wish. So these are the lyrics from Forever Young by Bob Dylan:

May God bless you and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young

Thank you.

Dear Brexiteer. What we need you to do now.

frpip

So well done, first of all. You listened to the arguments, the same ones I listened to. You heard all the same information I did, you listened to the same debates that I did, but you voted to leave. And you won. I take that – it was a democratic process and sometimes in the democratic process you lose, as I have done.

The referendum has activated the political energies of people who haven’t been interested in politics for some time, so we are told, and many of them are like you, who voted to leave. So here’s the plea of the losing side to you now.

Firstly, don’t stop – don’t stop with your political passion and activism, because we need you now. We need you to be active, we need you to keep talking to the people who you trusted with this vote, and we need you to…

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The Daily Show – Gun Control & Political Suicide

John Oliver vows that never again will a political career end in a senseless act of meaningful legislation.

The Daily Show – Gun Control Whoop-de-doo

Following the Senate’s defeat of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, John Oliver tests the theory that government-mandated gun control doesn’t work.

The Daily Show – John Oliver’s Australia & Gun Control’s Aftermath

John Oliver learns that it’s pointless for America to study the Australian gun control experience because the situations are just too similar.

The above videos are from 2013; three years later nothing has changed.

Read Sheryl Sandberg’s Heartfelt Letter About Her Late Husband

TIME

Last month, Dave Goldberg, then CEO of tech company SurveyMonkey, and more importantly, husband of top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and father of their two children, passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Mexico.

Dave’s friends and colleagues have since shown an outpouring of sadness, respect, and support with many celebrating his kindness and selflessness as much as his business smarts and leadership. On Monday, at the end of the 30-day religious mourning period in Judaism known as sheloshim, Sandberg posted a note on Facebook, reflecting on her grief and her learnings.

Here are our favorite moments:

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.” Sandberg says she finally understood that telling people facing challenges that “everything will be okay” is not actually helpful. Sometimes, acknowledging what is happening — the pain — is what people truly need.

“Let’s all…

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Soma mine disaster survivors face 6 years imprisonment for damage to property

Orhun Hakan Yalincak Blog/Reblog

Original story found here.

Nine of the miners who managed to survive Turkey’s largest ever mining disaster in which 301 people lost their lives in the western district of Soma last year now face the prospect of six years imprisonment each on charges of damaging property and violating a law on staging demonstrations.

A case has been filed against the nine workers at the Soma 2nd Penal Court of First Instance over an indictment filed by the Soma Prosecutor’s Office. The indictment said miners E.A., O.E., T.C., E.M., S.K., C.B., H.G., S.Y., A.M. and N.A. staged a march on June 17, 2014 because they could not take the bodies of their colleagues from the disaster site and closed the Soma Beşyol junction to traffic, prevented passage of a vehicle and caused material damage. The miners are facing charges of violating the Law on Public Meetings and Demonstration and causing material damage during the demonstration.

On May 13, 2014, Turkey was shocked by news of an explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, a district in the western province of Manisa. The fire rapidly depleted the oxygen in the mine shaft, causing 301 trapped workers to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. A total of 162 other people were injured in the blast.

The BirGün daily previously reported that a miner who was kicked by then-prime minister and current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide Yusuf Yerkel in Soma following the Soma disaster also faces a prison term of up to six years for damaging Erdoğan’s convoy’s official car.

The Akhisar Public Prosecutor Adem Aktaş launched a case against Erdal Kocabıyık over the damage to the car, which is one used by Erdoğan’s bodyguards and which carries the license plate 06 ZDB 91. In the indictment that he prepared, Aktaş stated that the injured party was the Prime Ministry of the Turkish Republic, and said the damage sustained by the car amounted to TL 543.44. The prosecutor is seeking a prison sentence of between one and six years for damaging public property, as per the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Rattled by Asya seizure, global analysts gloomy about Turkish economy

Orhun Hakan Yalincak Blog/Reblog

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) announced late last Friday that it had handed over control of lender Bank Asya to the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). The bank was already being administered by an interim board assigned by the TMSF on Feb. 3, when the months-long political pressure on the bank was intensified.

In an e-mail note to Today’s Zaman on Monday, William Jackson at Capital Economics said the move has sparked concerns over future of foreign investments into Turkey.

“It’s clearly difficult to disentangle the extent to which the takeover by the BDDK is politically motivated. But the fact that there are concerns that it is politically motivated will reinforce fears that Sunday’s election could result in more authoritarian policymaking that damages the business environment. And these fears alone may result in lower direct investment into Turkey.”

Jackson also added: “The crucial point here is that Turkey is heavily reliant on foreign capital inflows to fund domestic demand (hence it runs a large current account deficit), and the vulnerability posed by the current account deficit depends in part on the type of foreign capital inflows that fund this. In this regard, it’s worth noting that direct investment inflows tend to be relatively stable and made with longer term horizons compared with portfolio inflows or banking sector inflows. So all in all, deterioration in the business environment may make the lira even more volatile, keeping interest rates higher and growth weaker.”

The lira has already fallen by nearly 13 percent against the US dollar this year alone.

In a statement issued on Monday, Credit Suisse also said the takeover may have negative effects on the confidence in Turkish market and risk premiums of the properties in the country.

Founded by sympathizers of the faith-based Hizmet (service) movement, also known as the Gülen movement — inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — in 1996, Bank Asya has long been in the news as a target of an intimidation campaign led by high-ranking state officials as well as pro-government media outlets and businessmen. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuses supporters of the Hizmet movement of organizing “a coup attempt,” referencing investigations into corruption and bribery in 2013 that implicated several Cabinet ministers, Erdoğan’s sons and pro-government businessmen.

Greens leader: ‘Bank Asya situation shows Erdogan has no respect for democracy.’

The co-chairwoman of the Greens Group in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms, in a statement on Sunday, said the takeover of Bank Asya has shown that both the Turkish government and Erdoğan have lost their respect for democracy.

“The announced silencing of opposition media in Turkey is now already taking place. Not only by threatening and beating up journalists, but also by taking over Bank Asya, [the] government and president of Turkey show that they have lost respect for democratic rules. A negative trend in polls for the AKP [the Justice and Development Party or AK Party] seems to be the reason for a more aggressive strategy against opposition media. This is not compatible with fundamental rules for democratic electoral process,” Harms maintained.

International media agree

Tagesschau, the web portal of Germany’s state-run Constortium of Public Broadcasters in Germany (ARD) asked whether the Turkish government has deliberately broken the resistance of Bank Asya, and recalled that pro-government businesspeople have recently withdrawn large sums of money from the lender under pressure from Erdoğan.

Germany’s economic media outlets, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) and Handelsblatt, have echoed this reaction to the government’s recent attacks against the bank.

Leading French daily Le Monde, in the meantime, announced the seizure with a headline reading “The 10th largest bank of the country seized a week before elections,” in reference to the move’s apparent political motivation.

The Saudi Arabia-based Al-Watan, Lebasenese newspaper Al-Akhbar and Kuwait-based Roayah News also suggested the decision was a political move by Erdoğan to suppress any organization critical of his government.

Opposition blasts arbitrary move, decries political manipulation

The latest move in a prolonged smear campaign against the bank, the seizure has drawn ire both domestically and internationally. Though Ali Babacan, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, claimed there was no political motive in the seizure of Bank Asya, opposition deputies and market analysts claim the exact opposite.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli told Today’s Zaman on Sunday, “The decision, made just eight days before the election, has been perceived as a political, rather than an economic one.”

In a televised interview on Sunday night, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared his concerns over the security of property rights in Turkey and said: “They need to come up with a reasonable justification. Is the bank posting profit? Yes. Then why seize it? [The decision] should startle, not just the banking industry, but the whole business world. Why don’t foreign investors come to Turkey [anymore]? [Because] they have no security of life and property.”

Though it suffered great losses in 2014 on declining loans and deposits, due to mass withdrawals by pro-government firms and institutions, along with a cancelation of state agreements, such as tax collection and social security payment contracts, the lender still racked in a net profit of TL 13 million in the first quarter of 2015 and has a capital adequacy ratio of 18 percent, one of the highest in the sector.

Another CHP deputy, Mahmut Tanal, posted a tweet immediately after the seizure was made public, saying: “I just learned the TMSF seized Bank Asya. Instead of saving them, the TMSF has always sunk the banks that it took over.”

Emphasizing that the move was aimed at changing the agenda, he added: “This is a warning to the world of business and it violates [the law regarding] property rights. The decision is not judicial but completely political.”

CHP Deputy Chairman Faik Öztrak underscored possible judicial sanctions of the move and added: “The watchdog seized the management control of Bank Asya in February, citing missing [identification] documents [from shareholders]. Since then, the TMSF has governed the bank. It is a seizure of a bank that was already being administered by the TMSF itself. This sequence of actions is quite questionable.”

Selin Sayek Böke, the CHP’s deputy chair in charge of economic policy, presented a franker assessment of the decision: “To seize a lender that posts a profit with an adequate capital is just a political hijack. … It is being discussed that [shareholders of] the lender will receive huge compensation payments after a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling. Who will pay this money? The Turkish public.”

In an interview with a national daily on Monday, TMSF Chairman Şakir Ercan Gül said: “Net assets of the bank are positive. We will not touch the shares of the founding partners and shareholders in the stock exchange. The bank has been handed over to the TMSF just to resolve its problems.”

Gül’s remarks triggered speculation that the government — which has long been mulling over the sale of the lender to another firm — is now trying to increase the market price of Bank Asya.

Bank Asya’s shares were temporarily closed to trade on Monday. They had already been on the stock exchange’s watch list since last September, where companies are kept under surveillance.

Notes/Disclaimers: 
*Thoughts and opinions expressed are solely those of the author. I do not own the copyright. The original can be accessed at the link above.

**My re-blogging/sharing of this Article does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the views or opinions expressed in the Article.

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