Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank And National Banking
If national banking, especially interest-free banking, is to be mentioned in our country, it would not be possible to pass without referring to Adapazarı Islamic CommercialBank because this is the first and the only bank with Islam in its name. In fact, revealing the story of this institution, which was founded by religious individuals and Islamic sensitivities, the interest-free issue and the role of banking in the economy, will contribute to a better understanding of the past and present, to envision and build the future more accurately.
While working as a senior manager in a participation bank, we went to the Adapazarı branch on one of our usual visits. While visiting a customer, we saw a slightly different, old and historical building in the centre of Adapazarı and asked what it was, to which they replied, "This is the former headquarters of Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank, the first Islamic bank of the country." This further increased our curiosity. When we examined it more, we learned that this bank took the name of Türk Ticaret Bankası (Türkbank) in the process. This name did not sound foreign to us. We got to know Türkbank for the first time when we visited a relative working in the Trabzon Of branch. Then, the warm and welcoming “Türkbank your second address” advertisements on the streets of Istanbul caught our attention. Later, we were interested in this bank's "a new account that gives 30% interest-free TL loans to those who open a foreign exchange account", and we went to the Levent branch and opened a foreign currency account. We tried to use our interest-free savings by opening a foreign exchange account with the 30% interest-free TL loan we received. As someone who believes in the principle of interest-free, we enjoyed opening an interest-free account for the first time, while at the same time, we started to think that there is the principle of goodness in this bank. Subsequently, we worked in the newly established Albaraka Türk interest-free bank, and we became neighbours with Turkish Commercial Bank, which had its headquarters in its immediate vicinity. In short, our visit to Adapazarı required us to take a closer look at the history of such a bank, and we immediately went to the former headquarters of Türkbank in Bahçekapı, which is part of Ziraat Bank, and searched for its past documents, and we came across a bank that was genuinely Islamic in its foundation. When we researched the subject a little more, we came across Münir Kutluata's article about the bank. We decided to include the story of this bank in the book called Participation Economy, which we were writing at the time. Thereafter, we were invited as a speaker to the foundation year meeting of Türkbank, which was held at that time. We went there and made a speech stating that the Turkish Commercial Bank should be reopened as an interest-free, that is, a participation bank, in line with its founding purposes, and that it is essential to embrace the goals of those blessed people who founded this institution. Afterwards, we were invited to participate in other anniversaries. Finally, we made a speech at the 109th-anniversary panel held at Sakarya University.
A bank was established in Adapazarı in 1913, with the letter of "Hacı Adem Beyzade İbrahim, Sipahizade Hamid and Şürekasi Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank". HacıAdem Beyzade İbrahim Bey, the founders, became the chairman of the bank's administrative council, and Hacı Mehmet Hilmi Efendi from Shumen became the manager of the bank. The fact that the bank had the word Islam in its name indicated that it was separated from a foreign bank (Ottoman Bank) located in Adapazarı; on the one hand, it conducted an activity only by adhering to Islamic principles. The statement in his contract, “A limited liability company has been established to engage in the lending and borrowing and, if necessary, all transactions pertaining to financial, commercial, industrial, movable and real estate," is a clear indication of this (Hazıroğlu, 2017:266).
In 1919, the bank was transformed into a joint-stock company to ensure the participation of people other than the founders, and its name was changed to "Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank Ottoman Joint-Stock Company". With the proclamation of the Republic, the title of the bank was changed in 1924, the word Ottoman was replaced by the word Turkish, and the name of the bank became "Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank Turkish Joint-Stock Company". In 1928, the name of the company was changed to "Adapazarı Turkish Commercial Bank Joint-Stock Company", considering that the word "Islam" was added to the title of the bank to separate it from the Christian bank, and there was no need to use this word anymore since there was no longer such rivalry. In 1934, the head office of the bank was moved to Ankara, and with
the capital increase, the state became a partner in the bank through the Ministry of Finance. In 1937, the bank's name was changed again, and its name was changed to "Turkish Commercial Bank Joint-Stock Company". In 1952, the headquarters of the bank was moved to Istanbul (Kutluata, 2011:81-83). Turkish Commercial Bank was transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund in 1997. Turkish Commercial Bank was transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund in 1997. In 2001, the authorisation to do banking and collect deposits was abolished. In 2003, the bank's liquidation decision was taken, and the liquidation process was started.
The conditions for the establishment of Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank and the fact that the local tradespeople acted as if they were fighting an economic liberation war is significant. So much so that the first bank branch in Adapazarı was Ziraat Bank, which was opened in 1889, the second was the Ottoman Bank in 1907, and the third was Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank, whose general directorate was opened in 1913 (Sarı-Narin, 2021:10). At this point, it is an important factor that the employees of the Adapazarı branch of the Ottoman Bank (Banki Osmani), which was established with the permission of the King of England, are predominantly non-Muslims, that the bank manager of Armenian origin does not give loans to Turkish merchants, and that its only customers are non-Turkish. It is admirable that the local people established a bank to save merchants and shopkeepers from moneylenders, provide appropriate loans and develop trade (Sarı-Narin, 2021:32). However, in the ninth article of the bank's company regulation dated April 5, 1919, it is stated that 9% interest will be applied annually to those whose payments are delayed even though the time has come, and items such as trust and loan interests and parcel interest are found in the profit and loss account for the first five months of 1919 (Sarı-Narin, 2021:47,51) is exceptionally thought-provoking. Because although this situation was established with very good intentions, it clearly shows what kind of results are encountered when having strayed from the primary goals.
The absolute independence of countries is through economic freedom, and the way to this is to domestically produce the goods and services that the people of the country need. At this point, national economy and national independence and national banking, which is its dynamo, are essential. Therefore, it is vitally important to protect national institutions and their founding spirits and adhere to their primary goals. We know that the truth comes not only by calling it but by doing the works that will bring it. These developments in the country's national banking history clearly show how well-intentioned initiatives can be displaced, transformed, and alienated if they do not adhere to their founding goals, namely missions. The foundation and development stories of Ziraat Bank, Türkiye Vakıflar Bank, Turkish Commercial Bank and Türkiye İş Bank, which were founded with the money sent by Indian Muslims to "rescue the caliphate", are incredibly exemplary and instructive. Although we set out with good intentions, these transformations and incidents we have experienced are something to dwell on and think about. The flow process, metamorphosis and fate of Adapazarı Islamic Commercial Bank are the most typical examples.
With the guidance of its founders' spirit of economic independence and the contribution of the additional fund inspired by it, Türkbank, under the SDIF, re-acquired its interest-bearing banking license and came to the stage of operation. Unfortunately, this first bank, which bears the name Islam, is waiting to be embraced and become a participation bank in order to re-live its own values.
All these developments in the field of national banking inform us that it is possible to overcome this situation through a new “mental emigration” with the consciousness that takes into account all kinds of conditions but does not surrender to them, does not idolize necessity, and acknowledges that it is an accidental and extraordinary state within its limits and duration. Mental emigration is to envision a future based on truth and morality and take a step towards the envisioned future by keeping one's feet on the ground by considering the facts and conditions in which one lives. This means dealing with things by grasping life as a whole with a new mindset and understanding of economics and engaging in actions with intense effort. Mental emigration is not dreaming and getting away from reality, forgetting one's place and being dragged into chaos; on the contrary, it is about "immersing the past and tradition by taking lessons, taking action by grasping the present and the prevailing ground, and embarking on revolutionary marches that will build the future".