The upcoming Presidential elections in Turkey on May 14th hold significant importance for the country’s financial future and cryptocurrency industry, with two leading candidates, current political leader Recep Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, sharing entirely different views on cryptocurrencies and Web3. Erdogan is against crypto and supports the central bank’s efforts to launch digital lira, while Kilicdaroglu is a proponent of cryptocurrencies.
A Real Chance for a Change
The upcoming presidential elections in Turkey this weekend seem to be the most contested in over a decade, with Erdogan facing a strong rival – Kilicdaroglu. The current president has received criticism for some of his political decisions, including taking the country to a more conservative path, distancing it from the Western world, and keeping strong ties with Russia, despite Turkey being part of NATO. The current economic condition of the country could be another point used by the opposition. Turkey’s inflation rate is one of the highest in the world, and its official currency, the Turkish Lira, recently plunged to a record low against the US dollar.
Kilicdaroglu’s political view appears to be entirely different than Erdogan’s. He vowed to bring freedom and democracy to Turkey, saying that’s what the youth wants. Besides being a preferred choice for the younger generations, the 74-year-old politician could win solid support from the Kurdish minority, as approximately 15% of Turkish voters have Kurdish origin.
According to a recent poll, Kilicdaroglu could secure around 49% of the vote on May 14, while Erdogan could collect 43%. Still, a candidate needs more than 50% to be elected, meaning a runoff could be on the cards.
Another significant difference between the two political parties is their stance on cryptocurrencies, which will undoubtedly have an impact on the domestic digital asset sector.
War on BTC for Five More Years
President Recep Erdogan stated in September 2021 that the government is at war with cryptocurrencies and has “absolutely no intention of embracing” them. Turkey is among the many countries that have not imposed comprehensive supervision on the digital asset sector. The lack of rules led to the multi-billion scandal related to the crypto exchange Thodex. Despite Erdogan’s hostile stance on crypto and the chaotic regulatory environment, the Turks have shown an increasing appetite for digital assets.
The Opposite Scenario
Kilicdaroglu’s potential win could significantly boost the domestic crypto industry since the candidate has vowed to let it thrive. He is also fond of Web3 technologies. Kilicdaroglu criticized the central bank’s decision to ban crypto as a payment method inside Turkey’s borders, stating, “I talked to different stakeholders all day. Blockchain and crypto are the only areas where our $1 billion (Unicorn) initiatives will emerge.” Turkish crypto enthusiasts would likely support Kilicdaroglu in the upcoming elections.