AML in Turkey

In 1996, Turkey initiated legal measures to address the issue of money laundering. The enactment of “Law No. 4208 for the Prevention of Money Laundering” led to the establishment of a clear definition of money laundering within Turkey’s legal framework. This law also marked the establishment of the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), which functions as Turkey’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and is tasked with combatting money laundering and terrorist financing effectively.

The landscape of financial crimes has undergone transformations globally, necessitating a reevaluation of existing AML regulations. Responding to this need, Turkey introduced “Law No: 5549 on the Prevention of Laundering Proceeds of Crime” in 2006 as a proactive measure against money laundering. This legislation not only bolstered the responsibilities and authority of MASAK but also elevated its role in the fight against financial crimes, ensuring greater effectiveness.

MASAK possesses the mandate to oversee and audit financial institutions, wielding the power to formulate and disseminate regulations and guidelines. These instruments play a crucial role in informing financial entities about proactive measures they can take to combat financial crimes.

Financial institutions have a set of responsibilities and commitments aimed at thwarting financial crimes, primarily focused on combating money laundering. These obligations encompass the following key aspects:

1. Customer verification: Verifying the identity of customers.
2. Reporting suspicious transactions: Alerting authorities about transactions that raise suspicions.
3. Training, internal oversight, control and risk management frameworks, and additional preventive measures.
4. Regular reporting: Providing periodic reports as required.
5. Provision of information and documentation.
6. Maintaining and furnishing records.
7. Electronic notifications: Using electronic means to communicate relevant information.

Within Turkey, various types of financial entities including banks, investment firms, payment providers, money transfer services, finance companies, factoring entities, cryptocurrency exchanges, and lending institutions are obligated to uphold anti-money laundering measures. The Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) oversees the adherence of financial establishments to AML regulations and statutes. Should these institutions fall short of meeting AML standards, MASAK has the authority to levy administrative fines. Moreover, individuals in positions of responsibility can face imprisonment for neglecting their obligations.

MASAK’s objective is to counter financial misconduct through a combination of audits and penalties, thereby working towards the prevention of financial crimes.