The Turkish presidential election held on Sunday has the potential to mark the end of the Erdogan era, as the results ended in a draw. The final outcome will be determined in a runoff election between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Kemalist-social-democratic CHP. Amidst this political transition, the stance of the candidates towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies becomes a point of interest. Let’s explore their differing perspectives.
The Candidates’ Stances on Cryptocurrencies
Erdogan’s Negative Attitude
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for his strict and authoritarian approach, has shown a negative attitude towards cryptocurrencies in the past. In September 2021, he declared that the government was “at war” with cryptocurrencies and had no intention of welcoming them. The Erdogan government’s policies have banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment while permitting investment in them. The development of business models around cryptocurrencies by payment service providers and banks is also prohibited. This restrictive approach has transformed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into a mere investment option rather than revolutionary money.
Kilicdaroglu’s Business-Oriented and Liberal Perspective
On the other hand, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition leader, presents a different perspective. He is characterized as business-oriented, liberal, and open to embracing digital innovation. During a recent visit to the United States, Kilicdaroglu engaged with executives from payment processors, internet companies, and the World Bank. He emphasizes the importance of stakeholders and sees the financial and digital industry as crucial partners.
Kilicdaroglu criticizes the previous ban on payment service provider PayPal, highlighting the significant income generated by young entrepreneurs in Turkey through channels like PayPal. He pledges to lift the ban on PayPal and expand Web3 platforms once in power, with a focus on supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Kilicdaroglu has shown an understanding of the potential of blockchain and crypto ventures, referring to them as areas where billion-dollar unicorns are emerging. His stance aligns with the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Turkey as an alternative to combat severe inflation and economic instability.
Severe Inflation and Growing Interest in Cryptocurrencies
Turkey’s struggle with inflation has increased the appeal of cryptocurrencies, with more people in Turkey holding cryptocurrencies than anywhere else, according to surveys. Despite the regulatory uncertainties, Turkish citizens have found ways to access cryptocurrencies, and the country boasts a significant number of real Bitcoin exchanges. Kilicdaroglu’s belief in the potential of Web3 platforms to foster unicorn startups in Turkey is not unfounded.
A Vote for Turkey’s Crypto Landscape
The upcoming runoff election will shape the regulatory environment and determine the future of cryptocurrencies in Turkey. If Kilicdaroglu assumes the presidency, his business-oriented and liberal approach could lead to a more favorable environment for crypto-related activities. This may involve revisiting the ban on using cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, implementing clearer regulations, and fostering innovation and investment in the crypto sector.
The election’s outcome holds significant implications for Turkey’s position in the global crypto economy. A supportive regulatory framework, combined with Kilicdaroglu’s emphasis on economic development and engagement with industry stakeholders, could position Turkey as a leading player in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency innovation. The country has the potential to attract international investors, entrepreneurs, and talent, driving economic growth and technological advancement.
In conclusion, the Turkish presidential election has brought Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into the spotlight. While Erdogan has taken a restrictive stance, Kilicdaroglu’s perspective aligns with the potential of digital innovation and the advantages of embracing cryptocurrencies. The election’s outcome will shape Turkey’s crypto landscape and determine its trajectory in the global blockchain industry.