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‘We did it’: Finance chief Simsek says as Türkiye exits FATF grey list

'We did it': Finance chief Simsek says as Türkiye exits FATF grey list Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek attends a meeting at the summit in Istanbul, Türkiye, June 8, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 28, 2024 12:05 PM

The global financial crimes watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday announced Türkiye’s removal from its “grey list” in a significant boost to the Turkish economy.

“We have made it,” Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek wrote ahead of the announcement on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Simsek is currently in Singapore to participate in the FATF Plenary and Working Group Meetings.

A move to delist Türkiye from this category, which includes countries and territories requiring heightened scrutiny, would be a significant boost to its economic recovery efforts following the FATF’s downgrade of the country’s status in 2021.

Government officials have consistently affirmed Türkiye’s completion of necessary measures, expressing optimism about the country’s removal from the list. The “grey list” identifies nations that the watchdog believes have not taken sufficient steps to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

In a February statement, the FATF noted that Türkiye “has substantially completed its action plan” and recommended an on-site assessment. Simsek later confirmed in February that Türkiye had “successfully completed technical studies to remove our country from the grey list.”

FATF added: Türkiye has made key reforms, including:

  • Enhancing its approach to risk-based anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervision
  • Taking steps to ensure sanctions for AML/CFT breaches and beneficial ownership requirements are dissuasive
  • Enhancing resources for its financial intelligence unit and the use of financial intelligence produced
  • Undertaking more complex money laundering investigations and prosecutions in line with risks
  • Improving its asset recovery system
  • Prioritising terrorism financing investigations, prosecutions and confiscations related to U.N.-designated groups
  • Enhancing its implementation of targeted financial sanctions for terrorism financing
  • Enhancing outreach to a broad range of non-profit organizations (NPOs)
  • Taking steps to ensure that supervision of NPOs is risk-based and does not disrupt or discourage legitimate NPO activity, such as fundraising”

Recently, a FATF team, established by the G-7 to safeguard the global financial system, conducted meetings with Turkish authorities to evaluate progress in addressing concerns related to money laundering and terrorist financing that led to Türkiye’s downgrade.

A positive outcome and removal from the list could potentially strengthen the Turkish lira and bolster asset markets. Studies indicate that an upgrade could also attract increased foreign direct investment.

Last Updated:  Jul 9, 2024 1:37 AM