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Although forex trading in Turkey is safe and legal, the government has strict regulations. The regulations seem especially harsh if you plan on using a local Turkish broker. These relatively new regulations were only introduced in 2017 and have substantially curtailed the local forex broker business.
If you decide to trade currencies through a foreign broker from Turkey, then you will want to choose one operating under strict regulatory oversight in their local jurisdiction. Forex brokers don’t all offer the same products and services, so you’ll want to ensure a broker you choose meets your trading requirements before depositing funds with them.
Overview: Forex Trading in Turkey
Turkey has had an important historical role in linking the Middle East with Europe. It has a highly diverse and young population, with many Turkish investors curious about trading forex as a way to make money online.
Turkey’s national currency is the second or new Turkish lira that was assigned the ISO 4217 code TRY after the first or old Turkish lira (TRL) was redenominated in January 2005 by removing six decimal places from the old lira. The lira is subdivided into 100 lesser units known as kuruş.
In 2016, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) ranked the TRY 16th in terms of its average turnover relative to other currencies and noted it accounted for a 1.4 percent average daily forex market turnover in April 2016 on a net-net basis. This was a slight rise from its 1.3% share observed in April 2013.
Turkey is not currently a part of the EU, although it has a pending EU application. Turkey has therefore committed to conforming to the regulations in the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments DIrective (MiFID) and its revision the MiFIR as part of its efforts to become a permanent EU member.
The regulatory agency that governs financial markets and protects investors in Turkey is called the Capital Markets Board of Turkey (CMB) or the Sermaye Piyasasi Kurulu (SPK) in Turkish. The CMB was formed in 1982 after the 1981 passage of the Capital Markets Law (CML) in Turkey. The Turkish finance ministry appoints members of the CMB’s board.
Forex trading in Turkey has become very challenging after the Turkish government announced strict new regulations aimed at curtailing the country’s retail forex market that were published in February 2017 in the Turkish Official Gazette or T.C. Resmi Gazete in Turkish.
Effective from the 10th of that month, forex brokers operating in Turkey could only offer a maximum leverage ratio of 10:1. Brokers also had to require a high minimum deposit to open a forex trading account of TRY 50,000, which is currently worth roughly $8,950.
Furthermore, a second publication in the state gazette dated July 2017 stated that trading with leverage or having a leveraged trading account with a foreign broker that did not have a CMB license was illegal for Turkish residents.
This suggests that trading with forex brokers not regulated by the CMB was banned in Turkey, although some brokers situated outside the country do continue to accept Turkish retail clients and provide them with leveraged trading accounts that require low minimum deposits. They may not, however, directly market their trading services within Turkey.
Although CMB-regulated forex brokers are strictly overseen and should, therefore, be trustworthy, the restrictions they are required to impose on traders typically make them unappealing for most individuals who wish to trade currencies from Turkey.
When it comes to local taxation, Turkish residents need to pay income tax on their forex trading gains. Income tax rates start at 15% if you earn 13,000 TRY and then rise to 20 percent for up to 30,000 TRY, 27% for up to 110,000 TRY and 35 beyond 110,000 TRY. Turkish traders should consult with a tax accountant and keep records of their gains and losses.
What to Look for in a Turkish Forex Broker
Choosing the best online brokerage to trade through from Turkey depends mainly on your trading requirements. The following list contains additional key considerations to look for when selecting an online forex broker to trade through.
A key factor when selecting a forex broker is the quality of its regulation. Any worthy online broker needs to operate under the strict oversight of a prominent financial regulator, such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) or the National Futures Association (NFA) that oversee forex brokers based in the U.S.
Most regulators require that a broker keeps client funds segregated from its own, so make sure to look for that safeguard. Plus, you can check the security protocols undertaken by the broker. When the site is more secure, your money is protected beyond what you would normally expect.
Most online forex brokers offer traders the opportunity to trade through either their proprietary trading software or platform, as well as popular third-party software like the MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 (MT4/5) trading platform from MetaQuotes. You want to have as many options as possible, including the option to work on a mobile device or desktop. While an app-only platform might appeal to a younger audience, you would do well to choose a platform that allows you to switch more mobile to desktop with ease.
A trading platform should have features that include trading from charts, technical analysis capabilities, a news feed and a flexible interface. Some platforms may support creating custom indicators and automating your trading activities.
Maximum Leverage Ratios
A maximum leverage ratio determines how large a position you can control with a given amount of margin. Using leverage increases the risk you can take and can therefore impact both profits and losses.
Forex brokers can offer very different leverage ratios, with some only offering a ratio of 30:1 within the EU or 50:1 within the U.S., while others operating outside of those jurisdictions might provide a leverage ratio of up to 1000:1.
A low spread helps you keep more of your money. When forex brokers market their spreads, they are showing you the difference between the bid and ask prices. You pay a little bit extra, and that difference is where the broker makes money. You want to see the lowest possible spreads on the currencies you prefer to trade, and you should consider changing brokers if you find a better deal.
Most brokers let you open a demo account funded with virtual money to practice trading and check out their services with. They usually also offer a micro account for those who prefer to trade in small sizes, a Standard account suitable for medium size traders and a VIP account for those with access to substantial funding.
Many brokers also provide swap-free Islamic accounts that conform to Sharia Law for their Muslim clients. Also, you will most likely want to select a broker that accepts Turkish lira deposits if you do not have access to funds in a major currency like U.S. dollars, euros or pounds sterling.
You should look for a broker that provides quick access to customer support staff in case an error or problem occurs that could result in losses.
Most brokers provide live chat, phone, email and fax access to this service. If you are partial to reading and speaking Turkish or Arabic, then make sure to look for a broker that offers a website and customer service in your preferred language.
Educational Resources and Research
If you are new to currency trading, you might look for educational resources that can include e-books, online courses, webinars, blogs, tutorial videos and informational articles. You might also benefit from reading research of a fundamental or technical nature written by financial experts.
The educational part of any forex broker’s website should be at the heart of its services. You should feel as though you can enter the site and teach yourself what to do. If you feel the site does not give you enough information, you may want to look elsewhere. Also, the site should offer news services and tips that can point you in the right direction.
The Best Forex Brokers in Turkey
When looking for the best forex broker to trade through, remember that any broker you select is as important as how you trade, so make sure to pick one that is well-regulated and reputable so you can feel safe making a margin deposit with them. Because you have freedom of choice, you should not be afraid to change your trading platform at any time. Things change, and you should be willing to shift your focus depending on what works best for you.
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If you live in Turkey, some international brokers will still accept you as a client despite the CMB’s recent regulatory efforts to suppress forex trading within Turkey.
In addition to English, some also provide customer support and a website in Turkish and Arabic, as well as Islamic accounts, if you require those features. Above all else, make sure you select a regulated broker to trade through that keeps its own funds separate from those of its clients.
Interested in learning more about forex trading? Check out Benzinga's guides on how to start trading forex, the best forex trading courses for all skill levels, and the best forex books.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions & Answers
Forex trading is permitted in Turkey.
You need to look at the customer service, resources, tools, leverage and trading platform.
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