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Property ownership and doing business in Turkey as a foreigner

Legal Background

The Regulation on the Law on Applications for Turkish Citizenship (“Regulation”) has been published on Official Gazette dated 12.01.2017 and numbered 29946. According to the amendment, a foreign investor who meets certain conditions mentioned under the provisions added to the Regulation can obtain Turkish Citizenship. Besides the Regulation, Land Registry Code also stipulates criteria for buying property as a foreigner in Turkey.


Market Overview

Turkey’s real estate sector is expected to see additional revenue corresponding to more than $1 billion in 2017 after a move to give citizenship to foreigners who buy and hold Turkish property.

Thanks to eventually achieving of price stability after the political crises in July 2016, Turkish real estate sector has become one of the cornerstones of Turkey’s economy, being under the spotlight of both local and foreign companies. International credit rating agencies have rated Turkey one of the exceptional countries that can make investments and it maintains the same stability in real estate sector.

Real estate investments have certain characteristics which single them out from other financial investments and also give a kick-start to tourism, logistics sector and, in particular, construction sector. Strong banking sector is also in advantage of Turkey. Young population structure, rapidly developing middle class, and therefore influence of young professionals involved in business life, and a development based on consumption expenditure are also promising a worldwide large economy.


Becoming a Turkish Citizen by Buying Property

Regulation stipulates that Turkish Citizenship can be obtained by:

  • performing a capital investment of at least USD 2,000,000, as detected by the Ministry of Economy, or

  • purchasing real estate with a minimum value of USD 1,000,000, which shall not be sold for three years, or

  • generating employment for at least 100 people, or

  • depositing USD 3,000,000 in Turkish banks and not withdrawing it for a minimum of three years or,

  • purchasing state debt instruments in the amount of USD 3,000,000 and keeping it for minimum three years.

Buying Property as a Foreigner

Buying property as a foreign individual is regulated in Articles 35 and 36 of the Land Registry Law. Accordingly, providing that foreigners meet the legal criteria stipulated in these Articles, they can obtain immovable property.

The criteria for a foreigner to be able to buy property in Turkey are as follows:

  • Foreigners, who are citizens of the countries that have been announced by the Council of Ministers are entitled to buy a property in Turkey.

  • The total size of land should not exceed 30,000 sqm for each foreigner.

  • Foreigners are only entitled to buy property up to %10 of the total surface area of the relevant district that the property is located.

Aside from the above, there are no differences between foreigners and Turkish citizens regarding acquisition of a property. The land registry system used in Turkey is a reliable and secure system, whereby every real estate transaction is officially registered.


Conclusion

Turkey continues adapting regulations to encourage foreign investment as its roots depend on Turkish hospitality, particularly on real estate sector. Foreigners that fulfill one of the conditions stated above may acquire Turkish citizenship with the proposal of the Ministry of Interior and the decision of the Council of Ministers.

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