Who would pay $1 million for Turkish citizenship?

Who would pay $1 million for Turkish citizenship?

The application regulation of Turkey’s Citizenship Law was recently changed. From now on, foreigners who buy real estate in Turkey worth at least $1 million will be granted Turkish citizenship.

This has been widely practiced in other countries, known as “citizenship investment.” We know that the most popular places where people take advantage of this regulation are the U.K. and Canada, which have advanced democracies and economies with stability and “valuable” passports. 

It is no secret that many investors who are concerned about developments in Turkey today are opting to put their money into EU member countries. After making such investments, they are able to get long-term residencies and then - after fulfilling certain conditions - they can also get passports.  

So we can say Turkey is quite late in catching this “citizenship investment” trend. Until 2010 it was regarded as a “rising star” due to its developing economy, its promising democracy (despite the shortcomings), and its ambition for full membership of the EU. 

But today’s Turkey is very different. It is a country under attack from numerous terrorist groups, one that has gotten embroiled in the Syrian war, one with an economy that has lost its flair, with a tourism sector in a serious crisis and with an unstable currency. With the constitutional amendments currently being debated in parliament, Turkey is a country on the way to a full regime change. 
Who would invest $1 million to become a citizen of such a country? 

Without a podium 

During the recent brawl that erupted in parliament’s General Assembly during the constitutional change debates, not only were deputies injured but the parliament podium was also broken. 

This must be an irony of fate. With the constitutional amendments, the powers of parliament will be handed over to one person. After that date, there will be no need for a podium in parliament anyway. 

Constitution Commission head Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said that if the amendments are not approved in parliament then an early election will be inevitable. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli is of the same opinion. 

Their words represent a kind of threat to their own deputies. “Be careful when using your votes,” they are effectively saying. “If you cause an adverse situation then you will lose your seats in an early election.”
Don’t assume that MPs would rather protect their own seat when the future of the country is at stake. In a political culture that allows the open and proud showing of ballots during a parliamentary vote that is supposed to be secret, these threats will most probably work. 

Journalism is not a crime 

Renowned journalist Hasan Cemal was in court again the other day, accused of “making terror propaganda” in a piece titled “Fehman Hüseyin” published on the news website T24 on July 11, 2016.

“I have been a journalist for 47 years. I have dealt with the Kurdish issue since the 1980s, and I have written several books on the subject. Up to now there has never been an investigation opened against any of my pieces or books for making terror propaganda,” Cemal reportedly said in his defense.   

He also added the following: “A similar piece appeared in my book published in 2014. I spoke to Fehman Hüseyin in May 2013. Excerpts from this interviewed were posted at T24. “A journalist may meet a terrorist leader who has pulled a gun on the state one day and then meet a prime minister the next day. These are the discrepancies and ironies of journalism … All of these activities are among my journalistic activities. I don’t think I have committed a crime. Honorable judges, journalism is not a crime.”