Turkey's potential for Islamic banks is "very big," according to a top official of a Bahrain-based international group representing Islamic finance.
"I think the potential is much bigger than it is now. The potential is very big. Maybe it is not utilized enough," Abdelilah Belatik, secretary general of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), told Anadolu Agency (AA) late Wednesday on the sidelines of the CIBAFI Global Forum in Istanbul.The two-day CIBAFI Global Forum 2018, which wraps up Thursday with AA as its global communication partner, is focusing on how the industry will fulfill its obligations while remaining competitive and relevant within global financial markets.Belatik said Turkey has three participation banks - Al Baraka, Kuwait Turk, and Turkiye Finans - operating overseas already.
"We see that the policy of the [Turkish] government is expanding on investments and other very big projects and infrastructure projects, so in this [respect] I think that Islamic banks can surely make some contribution [to Turkey]," he said.
Belatik said Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) started developing "comprehensive" regulations for participation banks, adding: "Having regulations is very important."
He said countries like Bahrain and Malaysia have developed their entire system of infrastructure for Islamic finance, adding: "That is very important for the development of the industry."
He also stressed differences between participation banks and conventional banks.
"Participation banks' business model is different and can have specifics in terms of linkage with the economy and sustainable development goals," he said.
Belatik said the CIBAFI chooses countries like Turkey where they see potential to organize the forum, adding that as a large Muslim country, Turkey brings regions together.
"We operate now in more than 80 countries. We think that the future is bright regardless of the size of the industry. We think about the impact that we have on local communities and economic developments," he added.