2.8. Communication Policy and Activities

An efficient communication policy, accompanied by transparency, not only contributes to the effectiveness of central bank policies, but is also crucial for the central bank to keep accountability promises emanating from central bank independence. In 2014, the CBRT continued to place special emphasis on communication and transparency to enhance public confidence in the Bank as well as in its policies and to reinforce the effectiveness of these policies.

The implications of the principle of accountability are explicitly set out in Article 42 of the CBRT Law. In accordance with Article 42, Governor Erdem Başçı delivered presentations on the economic outlook and monetary and exchange rate policy implementations before the Council of Ministers on 2 June 2014 and 24 November 2014, and before the Planning and Budget Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 13 February 2014, 23 July 2014 and 17 December 2014. As required by the principle of accountability, in 2014, the CBRT continued to publish its analytical balance sheet daily on its website, as well as issue a report to make the results of the independent audits of the Bank balance sheet and income statements public. To serve the same objective, the CBRT also disclosed the rationale and consequences of its policy decisions via regular reports and presentations throughout the year.

Under the current monetary policy implementation, the MPC decisions and the Inflation Reports are the main communication tools of the CBRT. Via the Inflation Report that is published in accordance with the pre-announced calendar, the Bank informed the public about its general evaluations on international economic developments, inflation, supply and demand developments, financial markets, financial intermediation and public finance as well as medium term inflation forecasts. Accordingly, Inflation Reports were published at press conferences by Governor Erdem Başçı on 28 January 2014 and 24 July 2014 in Ankara and on 30 April 2014 and 31 October 2014 in Istanbul.

In 2014, the Bank continued to post on its website MPC decisions on short-term interest rates and other monetary policy instruments as well as the summaries of the MPC meetings on the date and time announced in the text of the Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy for 2014. On 10 December 2014, the CBRT shared with the public the monetary and exchange rate policy to be implemented in 2015, and announced that the text of Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy for 2016 would be released on 9 December 2015. The CBRT also informed the public throughout 2014, via press releases about the Bank’s main activities and the changes in implementations that are of high public concern.

In order for the public to better understand monthly inflation developments, the Bank continued to issue the Monthly Price Developments Report the day following the release of the inflation figures.

The CBRT, which safeguards financial stability along with its primary objective of price stability, issued the Financial Stability Reports on its website on 29 May 2014 and 27 November 2014 in accordance with its pre-announced calendar of data release. The CBRT shared its perspective about the overall financial sector with respect to the most recent developments on the financial stability front both in Turkey and around the world.

With the aim of promoting the Bank and its policy implementations, the CBRT prepared several publications in 2014 and released them in both print and electronic formats. Payment System – Payment Systems in Turkey was published in 2014 and disseminated to banks, universities’ economics departments, libraries, non-governmental organizations and various other institutions in Turkey. In addition, the Financial Stability - Financial Stability Developments in Turkey booklet is in preparation. The CBRT also continued to publish the quarterly CBRT Bulletin, which informs different segments of the public about its policy implementations as well as its corporate structure, activities and publications. The Bulletin reaches a wide audience in Turkey and abroad and is also accessible on the CBRT’s website. Moreover, to introduce its policies and implementations to the public, the CBRT published a brochure in Turkish and English on its website.

Another publication released in 2014 by the CBRT is the prestigious two-volume book titled “Modernization of the Ottoman Financial System”. The two volumes, titled “Searching for Central Bank at State-i Aliye-i Osmaniyye” and “Ottoman Monetary Reform”, discuss monetary reforms carried out in the 19th century by the Ottoman Empire and the attempt to establish a regulatory central bank in the framework of these reforms. The prestigious book is written by Hüseyin Al, Şevket Kamil Akar and Kaya Bayraktar.

In the form of direct communication, in 2014, Governor Erdem Başçı delivered various speeches and presentations in Turkey and abroad, introducing the policies and implementations of the Bank and analyzing current economic developments. Within this scope, Governor Başçı made presentations about the economic outlook and monetary and exchange rate policies at conferences that were open to the press and held by the chambers of commerce and industry in Kayseri (7 April 2014), Konya (16 June 2014) and Kastamonu (11 September 2014). The Governor also delivered presentations at the Banks Association of Turkey (TBB) on 27 March 2014 and at TBB and the Participation Banks Association of Turkey on 21 October 2014 and explained the CBRT policies at events organized by various non-governmental organizations as well as at international meetings and conferences. Presentations and speeches delivered by the Governor, MPC members and senior Bank management and videos of some of the Governor’s speeches are available on the CBRT website.

As part of its communication policies, the Bank has been holding meetings closed to the press since May 2011 in response to requests from bank economists for meetings on a technical level. These meetings, held in the presence of the MPC members as well as the representatives from relevant departments, start with a presentation on the latest macroeconomic developments, by either the Bank’s Chief Economist or the Executive Director of the Research and Monetary Policy Department. This presentation is followed by a question-answer session, during which members of the MPC answer questions from economists. A total of 8 meetings were held in 2014 – one in London and others in Ankara, attended by 563 Turkish and foreign economists and analysts. The presentations delivered at these meetings are posted on the Bank’s website under the Technical Presentations menu.

The CBRT continued to use its website, one of its major means of communication, efficiently and effectively in 2014. The CBRT website has been redesigned and the new website was launched on 27 September 2014. It has been restructured so as to bring the Bank’s main objectives and main functions to the forefront. Accordingly, the menu selection and page contents have been revised and rearranged to meet the needs of users of the website. Furthermore, new features such as the For Children (in Turkish only) section and an Interactive Charts facility have been added. In addition, main economic developments and significant economic indicators in terms of Turkey’s economy and monetary policy are shared with the public in the most current form.

Responding to demands from universities as well as public agencies and institutions, the Bank organized informative programs both at the Bank’s Head Office in Ankara and also outside Ankara in 2014. Through these programs, 25 groups of third and fourth year university students were informed about the history of the Bank, monetary and exchange rate policies and career opportunities. In addition, the CBRT set up a booth to promote its policies, implementations and publications in the 4th International Conference on Economics organized by the Turkish Economic Association (TEK) between 18-20 October 2014.

In 2014, the CBRT continued to respond to requests for information via its electronic mail address, iletisimbilgi@ tcmb.gov.tr, which was introduced specifically to ensure communication with individuals, institutions and establishments outside the Bank, as well as through the Unit on the Right to Information and also the Communication Center of the Prime Ministry (BIMER), both established pursuant to the Law on the Right to Information. Throughout 2014, a total of 3,374 applications were responded to via the Right to Information System and 373 applications were answered via BIMER.

In accordance with the framework set out in the Prime Ministry Circular on “Financial Access, Financial Education and Financial Consumer Protection Strategy and Action Plans” of 5 June 2014, the CBRT started to use social media accounts to facilitate financial education. In this respect, the CBRT actively uses its Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts. Twitter has been the most actively used social media channel. In 2014, more than 400 tweets were posted and the CBRT reached approximately 17,000 followers for its Twitter account in Turkish. Remarks by Governor Erdem Başçı have also been shared with the public via the YouTube channel.

In addition, within the framework of the Prime Ministry Circular, the CBRT held several informative activities in 2014 to encourage the use of kurus (Turkish coins) and foster the habit of saving. These activities were intended to improve the habit of saving all over the country via the widespread use of kurus. Accordingly, the CBRT set up a booth in the 36th International Children’s Festival organized by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) between 16-23 April 2014 in Gaziantep. The Bank distributed various materials to children designed by the CBRT that had the Turkish lira sign on them and emphasized concepts such as savings, kurus, money, money boxes and banks. Children also watched cartoon films covering the same concepts in the CBRT’s booth.

In the scope of efforts to encourage the use of kurus and foster the habit of saving, a “Kurus Family” story line series that includes basic concepts of saving habits and the use of kurus was published in the TRT Children’s Magazine in April 2014. In 2014, 80,000 TRT Children’s Magazines were distributed at schools and various events. The CBRT has published kurus family stories on its website and social media accounts as well.

Moreover, the Bank staff visited some elementary schools in Ankara, informed students on the habit of saving, distributed materials produced specifically for the campaign and showed them cartoon films. Also, the Bank sent 4,270 campaign-related materials to 28 schools from various cities upon requests for training materials.

According to the Turkish National Strategy, the CBRT has set a priority goal of increasing the ability of economy reporters to accurately understand the CBRT statements and macroeconomic data by providing training on basic economic concepts, thus contributing to the production of news reports that are easily understood by the public at large. A total of four one-day training sessions were held in Istanbul on 22 November 2014 and 20 December 2014 and in Ankara on 29 November 2014 and 13 December 2014, attended by approximately 70 reporters. The participants were given training in Monetary Policy and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism, Inflation Targeting Regime and Operational Framework, Recent Monetary Policy Implementations and Communications Policy, EDDS Applications, Daily Liquidity Management, Money Supply and Central Bank Balance Sheet, Balance of Payments Statistics and Financial Stability.

In addition, the CBRT organized two surveys in 2014 to collect information on financial literacy. The first of these surveys, “Use of Kurus and TL Sign Perception” was conducted in April and consisted of four questions. The second survey, consisting of six questions, was prepared in December with the title “Inflation Rate and Savings”.

Monitoring and reporting global developments in the monetary policy decision making process are as important as monitoring the domestic economic developments. Global economic developments are monitored on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, economic analyses oriented toward these developments are reported to the senior management and internally, in the form of periodic presentations and reports. These informative documents and presentations are important contributions to the MPC’s decision-making process.