“We are in war against bitcoin,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed at a gathering with students in Mersin, southern Turkey, on Saturday.
The president made the statement after a participant at the event inquired if the Central Bank was interested in opening for cryptocurrencies, according to Bloomberg HT.
Erdogan stated that he is in a battle against cryptocurrencies and is seeking to eliminate them, rather than confirming the lack of interest.
The announcement was made just days after the Turkish Central Bank opened a collaborative platform to examine the issuing of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), also known as the digital Turkish lira.
The bank announced that it has completed CBDC’s proof-of-concept stage and is moving onto the next step of testing, which will include various technology businesses, including Aselsan and Havelsan, as well as the TÜBTAK science and technology centre.
The BC is anticipated to reveal the results of this testing phase next year, when it will determine whether or not to issue the digital Turkish lira.
The Turkish president’s declaration of war on bitcoin is unsurprising, given that the government has been blocking the crypto market’s progress since the beginning of the year. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were outlawed from being used to make payments in the country by the government in April.
The Central Bank defended the legislation at the time, claiming that it was necessary since cryptoactives “weren’t subject to any regulatory and supervisory mechanisms of a central authority,” noting the potential of “irreparable” damages and other risks associated with digital asset transactions.
In May, regulators issued a decree tightening the rules that exchanges must follow in order to function in the country, requiring all enterprises in the industry to adhere to the same security standards as traditional banks.
At the same time, in a country where the national currency is depreciating, the Turkish public’s interest in bitcoin is growing.