The economic uncertainties sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the global rise of gold as a financial safe haven. In Turkey, where the demand for gold has been traditionally high, the gold rush has reached jaw-dropping levels, fueled also by the nosedive of the Turkish lira.

Amid rising gold prices, gold-mining companies are eager to expand their activities in Turkey, and the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) is ready to grant them new favors — although the environmental damage caused by the industry has given rise to one the country’s most vigorous environmentalist movements in recent years.

Turkey’s gold bar imports reached nearly 174 tons in the first eight months of the year, producing a bill of more than $13 billion that contributed 50% of the country’s current account deficit. In 2019, they totaled 250 tons. As of August, gold bar imports were worth $20.4 billion on a 12-month basis.

Written by Mustafa Sönmez