By Gokhan Ergocun
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey cares about blockchain technology and intends to do its own unique work on cryptocurrency, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said late Tuesday.
Blockchain technology, originally developed as part of digital currency Bitcoin, is a record of transactions -- any movement of money, goods or secure data -- like a traditional ledger, according to the U.S.-based investment banking giant, Goldman Sachs.
In remarks made to a local TV, Simsek said a working group had been set up to analyze the topic but clarified that cryptocurrencies were currently illegal in Turkey.
"However, blockchain is a technology that will raise productivity and accelerate digitalization," he said.
Simsek also said Turkey's public finance and banking systems were durable against potential shocks, adding that the country would make several reforms to protect it from such shocks in the next six months.
Turkish banking sector's annual net profit reached 49.1 billion Turkish liras ($13 billion) in 2017, hitting an all-time high profit, according to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) last week.
Turkey's economic confidence index also increased, month-on-month, in January, soaring 10 percent, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) last week.
He said it was untrue that Turkey was heavily in debt and that the welfare witnessed in recent times was a result of such debt.
"Turkey's total debt's, including household, state, companies and financial sector, ratio to its national income is 141 percent; this ratio in the world is over 320 percent."
He said Turkey's target was to reduce inflation rate to a single digit in the short-term -- by this year-end -- approach 5 percent in the medium-term and keep it in the range of 1-3 percent in the long-term.
The country's annual inflation rate was 10.35 percent in January, according to TurkStat Monday.
Simsek also said a summit would be held by the end of March between Turkey and the EU after a long time.
"EU process contributed to Turkey's recent period performance positively; we introduced three high-level dialogue mechanisms with the EU last December, Turkey is not cutting loose from EU," he added.
He said the most concrete topic with EU in the economy area was enlargement of the content of Customs Union.
About Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, he said terror's cost to the country was huge.
If the terror threat persists, Turkey's future will be in jeopardy in the medium-long-term; therefore, removing such threats would pave the way forward for the country, he added.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched an operation to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.