Turkey: Efforts to Prevent Money Laundering

Publication Date01 Feb 1998
AuthorAlev Izci
Turkey: Efforts to Prevent Money Laundering
Alev Izci
Since Turkey has realised the importance of anti
money-laundering measures as one of the means
of struggle against serious crime, it has initiated
programmes for introducing new legislation in
order to institute money laundering as a crime and
proposing the necessary modifications to existing
As a first step, some amendments were made to
the exchange control regulations in 1991, in order
remove the existing provision that the importa-
tion or bringing personally into the country of
foreign currencies neither be restricted in any
way nor be investigated as to its provenance;
introduce a requirement for the banks and
special finance institutions to report all Turkish
lira and foreign currency transfers abroad
exceeding US$50,000 or its equivalent to the
competent authorities, excluding those for
exports, imports and invisible transactions.
LAW NO. 4208
As a further step, a bill was prepared with the
contribution of all related ministries and public
entities. The Bill on Prevention of Illicit Traffick-
ing of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Sub-
stances and Money Laundering was submitted to
the Parliament in October 1994, together with the
Bill on the Ratification of the 1988 Vienna Con-
vention. While the latter Bill was brought before
the Plenary and passed the legislation for ratifica-
tion on 22nd November, the fate of the Bill on
Prevention of Money Laundering was not so good.
It was discussed and approved by Judiciary,
Interior and Planning and Budget Committees
with some amendments and as it was about to be
enacted at the end of 1994, Parliament broke for
early general elections. Therefore, the Bill on Pre-
vention of Money Laundering, together with the
other bills which were not concluded during the
parliamentary term, was declared annulled. After
long government efforts, the new government
made the renewal application for the bill on 3rd
May, 1996. This new coalition government was
unable to continue, but the previous government
made a written request to the President of Parlia-
ment pointing out the urgency of the bill, there-
fore it continued to be worked on in committee.
Finally, the Bill on Prevention of Money Launder-
ing was approved by Parliament and entered into
force on 19th November, 1996.
'Dirty money', according to this Law, means
money and monetary instruments, property and
proceeds derived from any activity stated in the
Laws and related articles of the Criminal Code
stated in the Annex, and all the economic advant-
ages and assets derived from the conversion of
money, monetary instruments, property and pro-
ceeds from one form to another, including the
conversion of
currency into another currency.
'Money laundering offence' means making use
of the proceeds of crimes acquired through the
activities mentioned in the Annex by offenders in
order to legitimise them; knowing that it is dirty
money derived from the crimes mentioned, acqui-
sition and possession of it by others, making use of
it by acquirer or others, changing or hiding its
source, nature, possessor or owner, concealing it or
making it subject-matter of cross-border trans-
actions or disguising such transactions, changing its
source or location or laundering it by way of trans-
ferring in order to help the offender to evade the
legal consequences of the crimes specified above or
the other actions to prevent the detection of dirty
A provision on 'controlled delivery' for the first
time in Turkish legislation is also introduced with
this Law. The provision enables the controlled
delivery of not only narcotic drugs and psycho-
tropic substances (including the substances in
Table I and Table II annexed to the 1988 UN
Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and the sub-
stances that may take part in the amendments of
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