Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has selected Fatma Ozkul, an academic specializing in cryptocurrency and blockchain, for a role on the central bank’s monetary committee.
Ozkul, a lecturer at Marmara University in Istanbul since 2012, focuses her academic research on accounting, finance, auditing, and extends to blockchain technology and digital assets. She is also noted for her 2022 publication on crypto asset accounting.
Joining Turkey’s Monetary Policy Committee
As the latest addition to Turkey’s central bank Monetary Policy Committee, Ozkul’s primary responsibility includes determining the benchmark interest rate to manage inflation. This appointment follows a recent hike in interest rates by the Committee to 42.5% on December 21, a response to Turkey’s soaring inflation rate, which reached 61.98% in November.
Erdoğan’s Economic Team and Digital Currency Initiatives
Following Erdoğan’s victory in the May general election, he restructured his economic team, appointing Hafize Gaye Erkan, a former Goldman Sachs banker, as the governor of the central bank. In 2022, the bank successfully trialed its digital currency, the Digital Turkish Lira.
Crypto Adoption and Regulation in Turkey
The Turkish economy has seen a significant uptick in cryptocurrency usage. Chainalysis data indicates that Turkey ranks fourth globally in cryptocurrency transaction volumes, with around $170 billion in transactions from July 2022 to June 2023, trailing only the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.
In response to the growing crypto activity, Turkish authorities are contemplating regulatory measures for the cryptocurrency market. These potential regulations aim at licensing and taxation to help Turkey exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “grey list.”
Expected Regulatory Framework
The forthcoming regulations are anticipated to introduce specific licensing requirements to prevent misuse of the system. They will likely encompass a range of areas, including capital adequacy norms, digital security enhancements, custody services, and reserve verifications.
Philip Hammond, who took up the chairmanship of Copper Technologies in January 2023 and was an advisor during the transaction, reportedly was not informed of the share sale initially. He learned about it later during a review of significant shareholders.