President Erdogan Appoints Crypto Professor to Central Bank Committee

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has appointed Professor Fatman Ozkul to the central bank board. Professor Ozkul’s appointment demonstrated Turkey’s commitment to tap into the benefits of crypto and blockchain technologies.

 In a December 22 report, President Erdogan confirmed Professor Ozkul’s appointment to the central bank committee. Based on her vast experience in financial and crypto matters, the president believed that Ozkul was a suitable candidate to support the Turkish authorities in implementing monetary policies.

Turkey Appoints New Member for Central Bank Committee

Her appointment to the board came days after the central bank intensified efforts to combat high inflation in Turkey. A recent report demostrated that most households struggled to meet the cost of living.

 The rise in poverty level in Turkey forced the regulators to increase the interest rate by 2.5% to hedge inflation. The Turkish regulators have embraced the cutting rate approach to curb inflation.

 Since the reelection of President Erdogan, he has focused on appointing new industry leaders to support Turkey to attain its economic objectives. A few months ago, the President of Turkey dismissed various officials working for the central bank. 

Regulators in Turkey Seek to Implement New Interest Rates to Curb Inflation

The layoffs prompted the president and his administration to nominate new leaders to support Mr. Erdogan in implementing the rate-slashing policies for inflation. With the changes in Turkey’s leadership, Professor Ozkul joins the newly elected economic team who will oversee the implementation of the monetary policies. 

According to the report, President Erdogan mandated Ozkul to support the central bank in levying interest rates that curb inflation. A review of Ozkul’s career profile demonstrated that the professor has vast experience in crypto and blockchain technologies.

Her career has maintained an upwards growth trajectory since she joined Marmara University in Istanbul in 2012 as a lecturer. Besides her academic qualifications in finance, accounts and auditing, Ozkul has bagged various awards in her career. 

Last year, she co-authored a book on crypto asset accounting fundamentals. Ozkul also has mastered the concept of blockchain and crypto technologies and dedicated time to conducting extensive research on digital assets.

High Adoption of Crypto in Turkey

 The appointment of Ozkul came when the Turkish regulators focused on developing the digital lira. In a recent interview, the Central Bank of Turkey confirmed the completion of the pilot test for the digital lira. 

The report indicates that the country’s apex bank anticipates proceeding with the next pilot phase, which will include the integration of decentralized ledger technologies into payment systems. With the ongoing development of the digital lira, Turkey has witnessed an increase in crypto adoption.

 A recent report from Chainalysis demonstrated that Turkey ranks fourth in crypto transaction volume. The Chainalysis team noted that between July 2022 and June this year, the crypto activities in Turkey generated $170 billion. 

The surge in crypto activities in Turkey forced the regulators to step up and regulate the digital sector. Last year, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) added Turkey to the grey list due to a deficiency in regulating crypto assets.  

Occasionally, countries collaborating with the FATF to address financial terrorism and money laundering are placed under heightened regulatory scrutiny. The FATF includes these countries on the grey list to ease the identification of potential regulatory gaps. 

Following Turkey’s listing on the grey list, the regulators plan to enforce new licensing requirements for crypto assets to address financial crimes such as system misuse.

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