Bitcoin is currently trading at $7,150 against Turkish money in one of the biggest crypto exchange there, in contrast to a global current price of $6,500.
BtcTurk has handled some reasonable volumes in the past 24 hours at $11 million for a number of cryptos they list, all of which are at a premium.
Even Tether, which is meant to be pegged to the dollar, is currently trading at $1.15 on the Turkish exchange. Eth is at above $400 while its global price currently stands at around $360.
Interestingly, while they have the USDT trading pair, the premium in Turkish money persists presumably either because arbitrage would be very difficult or because the situation has only recently developed.
Another Turkish exchange, Paribu, which lists only the Bitcoin/Turkish Lira trading pair that saw some $7.5 million in trading volumes, currently has the bitcoin price at $7,050.
That means this isn’t a situation limited to only one exchange, but instead appears to be a country wide phenomena probably due to a plunge in the value of Turkish money.
As can be seen, the value of Turkish Lira has fallen some 20% today against the dollar, from one dollar buying around 5 TRY, to now 6.5.
This situation has been brewing for some time, gaining heat this July after Recep Erdogan replaced the Finance Minister, with a German paper stating at the time:
“The ‘Sultan of Ankara’ has set himself one of the strongest opponents imaginable: the global financial markets.”
The situation remained somewhat within control, but now America has imposed some sanctions which appear to have precipitated what looks like a crash in the price of Turkish Money.
“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” Trump said today. “Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
The sanctions are ostensibly due to the imprisonment in October 2016 of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who Turkey accuses of being a follower of Fethullah Gülen who has been residing in America since 1999.
The latter is a Turkish preacher that through the Gülen movement has created a sub-sect of sorts of sunni Islam. They were previously allied to the Justice and Development Party, but then allied with Erdogan’s AKP when they came into power.
According to Wikipedia, this served both as “a tactical alliance against military tutelage and the secular elite.” The two, however, had a fall out in 2012 with a coup in 2016 blamed on the Gülen movement by Erdogan.
Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, was one of thousands arrested in the purges that followed. He was kept in prison, but on July 25th this year he was moved to house arrest.
Presumably it is that move which returned attention to the pastor, but there may be underlying geopolitical considerations as Turkey seemingly moves to become a regional power.