Code lets foreigners buy more local land in Turkey

Code lets foreigners buy more local land in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Code lets foreigners buy more local land in Turkey

Bodrum, an Aegean beach town, is popular among foreign property buyers. DHA photo

Turkey’s Parliament has approved a law that eases restrictions on the sale of land and real estate to foreign citizens and firms despite harsh objections from opposition parties.

The bill, approved late May 3, most notably removes the condition of reciprocity and increases the total amount of real property that a foreigner can own from 25,000 square meters to 300,000 square meters in all of Turkey.

“Countries that allow foreign [real estate] purchases without requiring reciprocity are the world’s strongest countries in terms of economy and democracy,” Environment and Urban Affairs Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said during the debate in Parliament. The reciprocity principle means a foreign citizen or firm is allowed to obtain property only if a Turkish citizen or firm can do the same in that person’s country of origin.

Foreign nationals, legal entities, and local firms that are at least 50 percent owned by international enterprises will have the right to own real estate and limited real property rights in Turkey, according to the approved law. Under the new law, which needs presidential approval to take effect, the amount of property owned by foreigners in a given district cannot exceed 10 percent of the privcately owned real estate there. The total area of the property that a foreigner can own in the country is limited to 300,000 square meters, but the Cabinet is authorized to double that amount.

Citizens of countries the Cabinet determines to be eligible will be able to acquire property in Turkey. The new law abolishes the requirement of approval from the Foreign Ministry for property sales to foreigners. The Cabinet is authorized to limit, prohibit or determine the places in which foreign individuals or companies from certain countries may acquire land and real rights in terms of amount, area, type, quality, ratio, period, or geographical region. Under the current law, foreigners can only possess residence and business sites. Commercial companies established in foreign countries will only be able to obtain real estate and limited rights under the scope of a special code, the law says.

The purchase of property by foreign firms in military zones or special security areas would be subject to the permission of the General Staff and provincial governors, respectively. Foreign buyers of land would be required to present within two years the project for which the plot would be used. Once the relevant ministry approves the project, the local authorities would monitor whether it is completed in time. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has argued that some provisions in the bill are unconstitutional and signaled it may ask the Constitutional Court to scrap the legislation.