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Turkey's Central Bank Embraces Crypto Expertise Amidst Surging Adoption

Turkey's President has tapped the insightful Professor Fatma Ozkul to join the central bank's rate-setting committee
December 26, 2023

In a strategic move reflecting the changing tides of global finance, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed the esteemed Professor Fatma Ozkul to the central bank's rate-setting committee. This decisive nomination, announced in a decree on December 22, positions Ozkul as a key player in steering Turkey's monetary policies, particularly in the realm of crypto assets and blockchain technology.

Since 2012, Professor Ozkul has been a luminary figure at Istanbul's Marmara University, specializing in accounting, finance, and auditing. Beyond her academic contributions, Ozkul's prowess extends into the world of blockchain and digital assets. Her recent authorship of a book on crypto asset accounting in 2022, as highlighted in her university profile, underscores her dedication to staying at the forefront of emerging financial technologies.

Ozkul's appointment marks a pivotal moment as she joins the ranks of the Monetary Policy Committee, responsible for setting the benchmark interest rate crucial for controlling inflation. This development follows the committee's decision on December 21 to raise the country's interest rate by 2.5 percentage points to 42.5%, responding to Turkey's inflation rate exceeding 61.98% in November.

Against this backdrop, Turkey has emerged as a global player in cryptocurrency adoption. A recent report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis positions the country as the fourth-highest globally in raw crypto transaction volumes. The period between July 2022 and June 2023 witnessed a staggering $170 billion in crypto activity, placing Turkey in the company of the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.

A survey conducted earlier this year unveils a remarkable shift in Turkish adults turning to cryptocurrency investments amidst soaring inflation. Over half of the Turkish population is now active in the crypto market, marking a 12% surge in the past 18 months. This growing interest, fueled by concerns about the significant depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar, is reshaping the demographic landscape of crypto investors.

As Professor Ozkul takes her seat in the Monetary Policy Committee, Turkey finds itself at a crucial juncture in economic evolution. The convergence of financial expertise and the nation's burgeoning interest in cryptocurrencies paves the way for a dynamic future. The surge in crypto transactions, coupled with evolving demographics of investors, underscores a need for proactive regulatory measures. Turkey's consideration of licensing and taxation regulations aims not only to foster a robust crypto market but also to elevate the nation from the "grey list" of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The synergy of expertise and market dynamics positions Turkey on the cusp of a transformative era in its financial landscape.

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