Turkey expects at least $15 bln from deforested land sale

Turkey expects at least $15 bln from deforested land sale

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey expects at least $15 bln from deforested land sale

There are about 500,000 blocks of deforested land on sale with an application deadline on October 30, Finance minister says. Hürriyet photo

The total market value of defrosted lands, which is known as 2-B lands, is estimated to fall between 15 billion and 26.5 billion Turkish Liras, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said yesterday at a meeting with provincial treasurers of the 12 provinces which have the most properties within the scope of the 2-B lands.

Proceeds from 2-B land sales will be used in decreasing disaster risks in Turkey, supporting villagers that live off forestry occupations, creating new forest land and forest improvements, he said, adding that the cabinet will determine how to specifically utilize the proceeds.

The government hopes that 2-B land sales will bring a substantial amount of revenue. A law was recently enacted which paved the way to sell defrosted land. The law has been controversial as some feel it may lead to more deforestation.

Deputy Minister Ali Babacan said last month that some of the proceeds would be used to reduce government debt and the expected revenues have not been included in this year’s budget.

Şimşek also urged rights-holders to apply for 2-B lands as soon as this week and not wait six months.

The rights-holders will lose their rights if they run late in applications in six months, he said.

The step on deforested lands comes as the Turkish parliament approved a law last week which eases restrictions on the sale of land and real estate to foreign citizens and firms.

Şimşek said 2-B lands cover some 4 billion and 100 million-square-meters of deforested land, which is deemed impossible to reforest. Another purpose of the 2-B law is to legalize constructions and solve ownership disputes between the citizens and the state and grant land titles to rights-holders on such lands, he said.

The government sells the lands at 70 percent of the market price to rights-holders and in case of pre-payments the government grants a further 20 percent discount.

“That is to say a land valued at 100 Turkish Liras will be sold at 56 liras. If half of the market value is pre-paid than the discount rate will be 10 percent,” Şimşek said.

There are about 500,000 blocks on sale with an application deadline on October 30, he said.