ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ziya Pir criticized Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs for giving an opinion this week on the use of digital currencies, declaring them impermissible in the Islamic law.
"Although some use digital currencies as a medium of exchange, they cannot be deemed as money because they lack a store of value or power guaranteed by state auditing and backing from a central financial institution," said a fatwa (religious decree) by the Islamic Directorate also known as Diyanet.
Addressing a parliamentary session, MP Pir said the fatwa reminded him of 15th-century attempts by some scholars to declare printing technology as "haram" or forbidden.
"For a monetary to be accepted as money, it should be valued by a state authority or backed by a commodity with an intrinsic value such as gold," Diyanet's decree read in response to a question submitted online on the use of Bitcoin, Ethereum and others.
"The then Shaykh al-Islam [Grand Mufti] claimed this a kafir [infidel] invention, cannot be used," Pir said.
"Diyanet cites Wikipedia, now banned, to refer to the volatility of cryptocurrencies," Pir continued, also expressing his exasperation with the government blocking of access to the online encyclopedia since earlier this year.
Turkish authorities banned Wikipedia over content suggesting Ankara's perceived support for militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS) which US-backed Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria have been fighting against.
Diyanet, funded by taxpayers as an official state institution of the constitutionally secular republic of Turkey, solely serves the Sunni-majority population of the country, running tens of thousands of mosques and paying salaries of over 100 thousand civil servants, mostly imams.
"Diyanet should heed its own business," Pir said.
Bitcoin this week hit record-breaking highs, rocketing over 10,000 US Dollars in value, a ten-fold increase since the beginning of the year.
Introduced in 2009, the decentralized Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer transactions through encryption, enabling fast and anonymous transfers.
Editing by Sam A.