Turkish Official Gazette published on Wednesday the decision to amend the executive regulations on the application of the Nationality Law, in several ways. The amendment's decision included conditions for which any person who fulfills any of them will be entitled to apply for Turkish citizenship. The conditions are as follows:
- Buying a property worth 250 thousand US dollars at least instead of one million dollars in the previous decision and not sell it for three years.
- Fixed investment of not less than 500 thousand US dollars.
- Providing job opportunities for at least 50 Turkish citizens instead of 100 citizens.
- Reducing the deposit requirement in Turkish banks from 3 million US dollars to 500 thousand US dollars.
- Information on the previous law to grant real estate citizenship
The Turkish government announced last year a law that allows foreign investors to apply for Turkish citizenship with different terms.
The law granting Turkish citizenship to foreign investors in return for buying a property in Turkey was issued last year and was published in the Official Gazette on 12 January 2017.
Turkey relies heavily on the real estate sector as one of the most important pillars of economic growth, which is linked to dozens of sectors directly or indirectly, and the government supports this sector to the maximum extent possible.
Turkey encourages investment in the real estate sector and offers many advantages and facilities to those who invest or buy real estate in Turkey after the property market has experienced considerable growth, especially following the change in the Foreign Ownership Act of 2012, which allowed foreigners to own property.
The law issued in this regard, which gives the right to obtain Turkish citizenship in return for buying a property is the most important advantages that show the great importance attached by Turkey to the real estate sector.
Tidings on the real estate citizenship law amendment in Turkey
There were reports last March that the Turkish government was preparing a study on the possibility of expanding the scope of beneficiaries of the citizenship application to investors to include a buyer of a property worth 300 thousand US dollars instead of one million dollars, While the decision was issued today to be a good news for investors and those wishing to own real estate in Turkey starting from 250 thousand US dollars only, In return, he gets the dream house in Turkey and the nationality of this country.
Special offices to receive applications for Turkish citizenship
According to the new amendments, which came into effect and published in the official gazette, every foreigner who meets the required conditions can apply for Turkish citizenship.
A committee of representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Treasury, Finance, Environment, Urban Development, Labor, Social and Family Services, Industry and Technology will be formed later to monitor and follow up on applicants for Turkish citizenship.
In addition, special offices will be opened to receive applications for Turkish citizenship and conduct their affairs. These offices will be subject to the supervision of the committee of these ministries.
After seeing a decline in 2016, housing sales to foreigners in Turkey recorded a 22.2 percent increase, reaching 22,234 and generating $4.6 billion in 2017, the value of house sales to foreigners in 2017 was recorded at $4.6 billion, registering a 19.4 percent increase compared to the previous year, according to a report, titled "Current Sectorial Development." Prepared by Turkey's İş Bank, the report revealed that house purchases by foreigners in 2017 saw increases each month as the interest of foreign citizens in the Turkish real estate sector grows. According to the report, the number of houses sold to foreigners in 2017 saw a 22.2 increase compared to 2016 and reached 22,234. On a city-by-city basis, Istanbul led the way with 8,183 houses in 2017 and Turkey's largest metropolis was followed by the resort city of Antalya.
The third city, which saw the highest number of housing sales to foreigners, was the southern Marmara city of Bursa with 1,474 units and another Marmara city Yalova came fourth with 1,079 housing units. Located on the Black Sea coast, Trabzon ranked fifth with 978 sales to foreigners. The Aegean city Aydın, the capital Ankara and industrial city Sakarya followed suit with 826,817 and 770 housing sales to foreigners in 2017, respectively. In another holiday resort Muğla, which harbors the world-renown Bodrum, a total of 634 houses were sold to foreigners last year and Mersin saw foreigners’ purchases 600 housing units in 2017.
Looking at the annual distribution of housing sales, figures show the increase continued from 2013 to 2015 but saw a decline in 2016.
In 2013, a total of 12,181 houses sold to foreigners and the number increased to 18,959 in 2014. The year 2015 saw the highest number of housing sales to foreigners with 22,830. In 2016, however, the housing sales to foreigners dropped to 18,189.
On a national basis, Iraqis who bought 3,805 houses in Turkey last year led the way in housing sales to foreigners in the country. The data revealed that Saudis ranked second with 3,345 housing purchases and they are followed by Kuwaitis who purchased 1,691 houses last year. Russians came fourth on the list with 1,331 houses and Afghans who purchased 1,078 houses came fifth.
Azeri citizens and British citizens bought 942 and 794 houses in Turkey last year, respectively. German citizens followed them with 772 housing units and Iranians were recorded to have purchased 792 houses in the country last year.
Faruk Akbal, chairman of Nevita International, which was established by Fuzul Group for real estate sales to foreigners, said the increase in house sales to foreigners will continue in 2018 as well.
According to a report by İş Bank, the figure foreigners paid for houses in Turkey last year soared by 19.4 percent to $4.6 billion.
"The citizenship incentive by the government as well as the value-added-tax
[VAT] exemption had an impact on the revenue increase of 20 percent we experienced last year. However, the important thing is that Turkey is increasingly becoming a shining center between Europe and Asia. Those who projected this are maintaining their investments despite all the adverse economic conditions," said Akbal.
Akbal also emphasized that while they had a turnover of TL 6.5 million ($1.7 million) in 2014, they increased this figure to TL 34 million last year. In 2017, Akbal added, they aimed to carry out sales of TL 120 million, but they actually made sales of TL 150 million. He also said they sell a house for TL 650,000 on average.
In 2017, foreigners acquired 4,000 houses more than they did the previous year.
"This is the potential I am talking about. Despite all the negativity around us, the interest of foreigners in Turkey is gradually increasing," he said.
Recalling that 12,000 houses were sold in 2013 when the reciprocity law was enacted, Akbal said the number has almost doubled following this law.