Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared war on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at a student event in the city of Mersin on September 18.
“We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies”
Erdoğan hosted a question and answer event in Mersin, Turkey, with students from across the country. One participant referred to the Digital Turkish Lira Collaboration Platform, which was announced last week, and asked if the central bank would introduce cryptocurrencies. He also asked Erdoğan for his opinion on cryptocurrencies.
Erdoğan responded to this question by saying, “We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies,” adding, “On the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to cryptocurrencies. Because we will move forward with our own currency, that has its own identity.”
In April of this year, the Turkish Central Bank announced that it was illegal to make payments with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in Turkey. The main reasons given for this decision were the legal uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies, extreme volatility, and the risk of crime.
A Digital Lira is expected to go live soon
Erdoğan’s statements came after Turkey’s central bank launched a new research platform called Digital Turkish Lira Collaboration Platform earlier this month. The platform aims to explore the possibilities of a digital lira and has partnered with three local tech companies. They are currently in the first phase of the national digital currency and plan to release the results early next year.
Exploring the possibilities of introducing the lira’s digital equivalent has already been on the agenda since 2019. Erdoğan had also included the issuance of a so-called central bank digital currency in his presidential program.