It has recently been revealed that individuals in Turkey have continued buying hard currencies like the US dollar and the euro instead of keeping their savings in Turkish lira (TL) accounts.
After Turkish president Erdoğan announced the introduction of a treasury-backed financial scheme to protect TL accounts against losses incurred by devaluation on the night of 20 December, both the treasury minister himself and the government media have been publicly speculating that individuals have sold massive amounts of foreign currency and returned to TL savings.
In contradiction to these speculations, it was revealed on Thursday that personal foreign currency accounts have continued to increase in the first week of 2022, though those of corporations have seen a substantial decrease.
According to data provided by the Central Bank of Turkey, there has indeed been a decrease of $2.6 billion in foreign currency accounts overall, but this was not caused by a decrease in personal accounts, which actually increased by $351 million to reach a total of $147 billion. The foreign currency accounts of corporations, on the other hand, decreased by $2.9 billion.
Currently, foreign currency accounts in Turkey constitute 62.71% of all accounts. This signifies a proportion even higher than that in the midst of the historical 2001 financial crisis, which stood at 61.5% in October 2001.
A proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into who benefited by selling massive foreign currency funds while both the dollar and euro were on historical peaks against the TL was rejected in the Turkish parliament on Tuesday, by the votes of the MPs for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its coalition partner the Nationalist Movement party (MHP).
The opposition in Turkey claims that a handful of administration-friendly conglomerates earned billions in currency speculation as individuals were barred from making transactions on the night of 20 December in the currency market.
The claims go on to say that a good part of the foreign currency that was sold at the highest price was then bought back as the TL temporarily gained value.