Turkey: Islamic Finance System In Turkey

Last Updated: 22 July 2015
Article by Hurigül Sarž

The Islamic finance system has arisen due to various religious and economical reasons and, in general, it is a system where any and all kinds of financial activities and transactions are applied within the scope of Islamic rules. This market is established based on applying the principles and rules brought in by Islam to the financial transactions. Considered as an alternative field to the modern finance understanding, the Islamic finance quickly develops as an alternative field in the global finance markets in the light of the developments during the recent years. The framework of an Islamic financial system is being established in line with various rules and laws which the Islamic communities are subjected to in terms of economical, social, political and cultural aspects.

The basic difference of Islamic finance and traditional finance is that the "interest", located in the center of the traditional financial transactions, is prohibited in the Islamic finance. If the money paid for the debt instrument is different than its nominal value, then the difference between them is described as interest. The Islamic religion considers this difference as an unfair increase, therefore prohibits the trading of any debt instrument for a value other than its nominal value. With the interest prohibition in question, it's aimed to prevent any unfair capital increase at a loss of someone else. In addition to this, only partnering for profit without taking any risk and without partnering to loss is also a prohibited transaction in the Islamic world. Debt instruments issued without taking the abovementioned into account are not accepted as an Islamic debt instrument.

For the Islamic law, the provisions of the agreement should be definite for the legal transactions and particularly for the agreements putting both parties under an obligation. In other words, the subject matter of the agreement should be known and definite. Particularly the agreements with substantial uncertainties are not considered as suitable for sharia.

According to the Islamic rules, the activities based on making a gain from the loss of someone else such as gambling, betting and games of chance are also prohibited.

Within this scope, the financing methods developed by the Islamic financial institutions can be categorized in general as Mudaraba (labor capital partnership), Musharaka (profit-loss partnership), Murabaha (cost plus profit margin sales), Ijara (lease financing), Quard-Hasan (interest-free loan), Istisna'a (order based procurement) and Sukuk.

As one of these financing methods, Sukuk is an important financial instrument suitable to the interest-free banking principles developed for increasing the financing in the international capital markets. The basic rule in Sukuk is that it has to be based on an asset different than the traditional debt instrument bonds. In the simplest term, Sukuk shows owning an asset or benefiting from that asset. According to this system, the main company assigns the properties subject to the Sukuk transaction to a company established for a special purpose, and this company securitizes and sells these assets to the investors. In the Sukuk system, the receivables are securitized based on the asset. As a result, it allows the buyer to get a share from the revenues obtained from the assets, in addition to the proceeds arising from the sales of the assets. Sukuk has become a global investment instrument and also defined as "interest-free bond". The Turkey version of Sukuk has entered to our legislation as lease certificates as a similar instrument and is regulated in the "Communiqué on Lease Certificates" no. III-61.1 (Communiqué) of the Capital Markets Board of Turkey. Lease certificate means the security which is issued by the asset leasing company in order to provide financing to any kind of asset and right and allowing the lease certificate holders to be entitled for the revenues obtained from this asset or right, in the rate of their shares.

Carried out within the scope of the abovementioned rules and principles, the operation of the Islamic financial services and products vary from country to country, and recorded a significant improvement during the recent years. Examining and considering the other examples in the world, the Islamic financial system appears as an effective system in the fund transfer process as an alternative financial brokerage.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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