Turkey has established a new halal certification body, the Halal Accreditation Agency (HAK).
The HAK, established with a presidential decree on Sunday, will strengthen Turkey's central position in the field of halal certification and accreditation.
It will allow the country to be a gold standard in terms of rulemaking, take steps moving forward and capitalizing on the growing global halal market.
The agency, in the form of a public entity, will be responsible for accrediting halal-compliance evaluation institutions and ensure their operations are in compliance with national and international standards.
HAK will also operate to ensure the acknowledgment of the documents prepared by the halal-compliance evaluation institutions on national and international platforms.
Operating under the Trade Ministry, it will be the only institution that would provide halal accreditation services in Turkey. The agency will also offer halal accreditation services for halal-compliance auditing firms in and outside Turkey, as well as determine and implement benchmark and measures regarding halal accreditation.
The agency will represent Turkey at international and regional accreditation associations and organizations. It will also take part in their boards or serve as the center of such institutions.
Turkey's HAK will sign bilateral and multilateral agreements and establish networks and relations with other halal accreditation bodies worldwide.
The agency will also carry out necessary scientific and technical surveys on halal accreditation and organize events to boost its importance.
The HAK will have a board as its decision-making mechanism, consisting of five members, an advisory council and a general secretariat.
The board of directors, which will be the decision-making body of the institution, will consist of a total of five members, including the president and four members. Members of the board of directors will serve for three years. The member of the board of directors may be reassigned once their office terms expire.
The advisory board will consist of the representatives from the Trade Ministry, Presidency of Religious Affairs, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Capital Markets Board (SPK), Development and Support of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Administration (KOSGEB), Turkish Accreditation Agency, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE), Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Turkey Exporters Assembly (TİM), Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Association of Turkish Participation Banks (TKBB), Turkish Capital Markets Union (TSPB), Turkey Insurance, Reinsurance and Pension Companies Association, Turkey Tradesmen and Artisans Confederation, Union of Turkish Chambers of Agriculture (TZOB), Turkey's Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD), Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TÜSİAD), Turkey Hoteliers Association (TÜROB) and a number of other organizations.
The body's service units will be the Halal Accreditation Directorate, the International Relations Directorate and the Personnel and Support Services Directorate. It was also reported that offices may be established abroad for the international operations of the institution.
In 2010, Turkey took some important steps regarding halal certification within the framework of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Regulations, including the Halal Food Standard and the Halal Accreditation Standard, were approved by the OIC, leading to the establishment of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), which is headquartered in Turkey. It currently has 35 members.
Halal accreditation bodies enforce halal standards according to Islam in and outside Muslim countries. They also aim to protect the growing number of halal consumers and facilitate international trade.
Global trade in halal products and services is currently valued at around $3.9 trillion.