Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said the Turkish lira will become obligatory in free zones by removing the requirement of foreign currency. Holding a press conference Thursday at the Ministry's office to assess the free trade zones, Zeybekci pointing out that foreign currency requirements will be lifted on sales from Turkey to free zones and on sales to Turkey from free zones.
"The Turkish lira requirement will be introduced," Zeybeci added. Stating that there will be a decrease of $6 billion in foreign currency demand after this change, Zeybekci said they want to complete the arrangement by the end of the week. In December, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Turkish citizens to convert their "under-the-mattress" foreign currency savings into Turkish lira as well as Turkish commercial entities to use the local currency as a medium of exchange in economic transactions.
Erdoğan's call has gained support from public institutions and commercial entities. Right after the call, Borsa Istanbul, Turkey's main exchange market, announced it had converted all its cash reserves into Turkish lira. Many companies preferred to use liras in transactions, and even football clubs started paying their players in local currency. The main purpose of the move has been to ease the pressure of the foreign exchange rate on the local currency.