When one looks at a map of the world, it might seem a little odd that Europe and Asia are considered to be two separate continents. The distinction is arbitrary only in the sense that even the boundaries themselves have shifted from time to time; Herodotus claimed that Europe was that part of the land mass to the west of the river Phasis, or for those of you who are not familiar with Ancient Greek nomenclature, the river Rioni, situated in modern day Georgia.
Later it became the land between the Rock of Gibraltar and the River Don. It was Russian ambition that finally put to rest the confusion. The Geopolitical history of modern Russia can be summed up in one simple observation, the desire for a port that was free from ice all year round; Strahlenberg’s redefinition of Europe as being all that is west of the Urals and all that is north of the Caucasus was bankrolled by the Russian Empress Anna. And just like that, Russia went from being in Asia to being in Europe. Not that this helped Russia’s dream of an ice free port, there was a small problem to overcome, actually it was quite a large one, The Ottoman Empire.
Modern Turkey is all that remains of what was once one of the greatest empires the world has ever known. It rose to prominence in the 13th century and in one of the most famous dates in human history, 1453, Constantinople fell to Turkish forces under the command of Mehmed II. All that was left of the Roman empire, known as Byzantium by this time was swept away forever. The Ottoman Empire flourished; they led the world in terms of science and medicine, and with cultural giants such as China withdrawing from the world at around the same time, they became a center of learning, architecture, and knowledge. Of course, it all went wrong. Things always do.
Modern Turkey is something of a chimera; a state that has repeatedly bent over backwards in its overtures to joining the EU, it’s social policies, though based on democratic ideals, remain too draconian for serious consideration. Recent events have not helped. Last years governmental ban-fest made international news; Twitter, You Tube and even Minecraft demonstrated that the Turkish government was still locked in the immature tantrum stage of burgeoning democracy.
Bitcoin regulation and services in Turkey
The lack of political moderation however did not extend to bitcoin. Regulation of the currency remains undecided in Turkey, with the BRSA only stating that bitcoin does not qualify as electronic money. That being the case, bitcoin is not covered under existing legislation and is therefore, unregulated. And yet Turkey is unquestionably a hub of bitcoin activity. Bitup Card a bitcoin voucher scheme is the brain child of two separate entities, the Berlin based MKPayment Solutions and the Amsterdam bitcoin voucher scheme bit4coin. The voucher scheme boasts an impressive array of 300 merchants willing to accept the gift cards a cross the country, And that’s just for starters.
Turkish Lira can be traded for bitcoin thanks to the efforts of BTC Turk, and though the capital sports only a single bitcoin ATM there are definite signs that Turkey is moving in the right direction. Unhampered by the need to pay lip service to an overarching tax regulation, as is the case in the EU, Turkey looks poised to take advantage of the choppy waters of the rest of Europe.
Featured image via G.OZCAN.
Ian Jackson is an Inside Bitcoins correspondent based in the U.K.