Exchange offices across Turkey close temporarily in protest of new regulations

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Exchange offices across Turkey temporarily closed their doors to protest amendments recently introduced to regulations concerning their operations, the Birgün daily reported on Thursday.

The protest was held in all 81 Turkish provinces as exchange offices closed at 11:45 a.m. The protest lasted for 30 minutes.

The disputed amendments included a large increase in the amount of capital required to open an exchange office and an obligation to record the identities of their clients.

In a resolution published in the Official Gazette last month, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance increased the amount of paid-in capital required to open an exchange office from TL 5 million to TL 10 million for Group A authorized institutions and from TL 1 million to TL 5 million for Group B authorized institutions.

The new rules, introduced after the lira hit another low, also oblige lira buyers and sellers to present their IDs and provide address and telephone information when necessary. Previously, only clients whose transactions totaled $3,000 or more were asked to submit personal information.

“All exchange offices in Turkey are closing down to protest the unlawful regulations,” the Authorized Institutions of Turkey Platform tweeted.

Ulaş Çabuk, the platform’s representative, told Bloomberg HT TV that they demand revision of the regulations and that the platform will contest the regulations at the Council of State.

“The new rules will undermine the authorized institutions in Turkey. If they are not revoked, I will have to shut down my company at the end of 2022,” Çabuk said.

The new rules also caused consternation and prompted concerns that they may be used as a way of profiling.

Turks have been buying foreign currencies to protect themselves against a weakening lira and growing inflation, which rose to just shy of 20 percent in September.

The Turkish lira has been weakening since the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates on Sept. 23.

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