ANKARA Three foreign banks, including one from the United States, are considering entering the Turkish market, possibly as soon as next year, the head of the country's banking watchdog was quoted as saying.
Bank of China began operations this year in Turkey, whose population of nearly 80 million - the youngest in Europe - remains an attractive demographic for foreign banks despite investor concerns about security issues and a government crackdown that has followed a failed coup in July.
Mehmet Ali Akben, the president of the Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), said three further banks had expressed an interest doing business in Turkey.
"(That) means they will go through a process, but we think they might be in Turkey in 2017," the Anadolu news agency quoted him as saying on Monday.
One was from the United States and another from Dubai, he said, without identifying the nationality of the third bank.
A fourth bank which already has a representative office in Turkey, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, was interested in acquiring a banking licence, he said.
Akben said there had also been expressions of interest from India.
Turkey has been a difficult market for foreign banks to crack, particularly the retail segment, where competition is stiff and local lenders already offer services such as biometric ATMs and accounts in different currencies.
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan and John Stonestreet)