- In the coming weeks, a legislative proposal to regulate cryptocurrency trade in Turkey is expected to be submitted to parliament.
- The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has “strongly denied” allegations that authorities in Ankara plan to tax cryptocurrency gains at a rate of 40%.
Turkish cryptocurrency investors can breathe a collective sigh of relief. In the coming weeks, a legislative proposal to regulate cryptocurrency trade in Turkey is expected to be submitted to parliament. According to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, sources from the country’s ruling political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), have “strongly denied” allegations that authorities in Ankara plan to tax cryptocurrency gains at a rate of 40%.
Mustafa Elitaş, deputy leader of the AKP’s parliamentary group, stated on social media last month that the new law will serve to regulate Turkey’s cryptosystem while “preventing malicious acts, protecting investors, and countering grievances.” He noted that draughts prepared by other institutions had been mentioned in the media, but emphasized that the legislature would have the final say.
Elitaş organized a meeting with 13 representatives of cryptocurrency platforms operating in Turkey at the parliament in Ankara on 29 December 2021. It was also attended by officials from the Treasury and Finance Ministry, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), and the Central Bank of Turkey. The participants voiced their support for the adoption of a regulatory framework that would allow further amendments to reflect changes in the space.
According to another major Turkish daily, Milliyet, senior members of the AKP have been reviewing current regulations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan this week. Transparency, safety, and suitability of crypto exchange platforms will be the first priority of Turkey’s own regulations, according to Hürriyet, citing anonymous party officials. The next major goal, they added, is to create a suitable financial environment to support a growing blockchain sector.
According to the publication, more than 30 crypto trading platforms are currently operational in Turkey, and the country’s crypto assets market is among the top five in the world, with nearly 5 million user accounts. The largest exchange, Binance, has a daily trading volume of around $320 million. MASAK fined Binance’s Turkish platform, BN Teknoloji, 8 million Lira (more than $750,000 at the time) for violations discovered during liability inspections last month.
MASAK issued a set of guidelines for crypto service providers in May 2021, requiring digital asset exchanges to conduct customer identity verification and report suspicious transactions, including high-volume trading. The agency has the authority to levy fines and even prosecute platform owners who fail to meet their obligations.
The rules were enacted after two Turkish cryptocurrency exchanges, Thodex and Vebitcoin, abruptly ceased trading, causing thousands of investors to lose money, and were the subject of anti-fraud investigations. Coinzo, another platform, also shut down in October. The popularity of crypto trading and investing in Turkey has grown significantly as the lira has risen in value, but crypto payments have been prohibited by the Turkish central bank.