The government expects citizens residing on 2B land to apply to obtain property deeds after paying specified sums of money “as soon as possible,” Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek told a press conference in Ankara on Thursday.
2B land – which was formerly classified as forest -- includes 4.1 million acres across Turkey, areas where construction and agricultural activity are banned by the state. However, there are public buildings, farms, meadows, cemeteries and housing on most of this land, since individuals and firms have exploited the land without holding title to it and without paying any rent or fees to the state.
A large number of people have migrated to big cities over the last three decades, and those in need of homes built relatively unsafe houses on 2B land, capitalizing on loopholes in the law. The state now claims ownership of this land and wants to sell it to residents in return for designated amounts of money.
The government has long been working to resolve this issue.
Following the approval of a law on April 18 that will allow construction on 2B land, the government has prepared a roadmap for the issuance of land deeds for specified sums of money. Accordingly, those residing on 2B land are required to apply to cadastre offices within the next six months to obtain their deeds. Any 2B land without a deed a half year from now will be automatically seized by the state. Şimşek said the citizens “should not wait until the final date.” Some parties criticized the new law for being unrealistic and raised questions over its success. “We have faith that the government and citizens will reach a compromise. I call on 2B residents not to miss this historic opportunity to solve this decades-old problem. These lands now belong to the Treasury,” Şimşek asserted.
The government expects to collect some $15 billion in revenue from the sale of 2B land. Şimşek said the revenue from 2B sales would be allocated to studies to minimize risks in quake-prone regions -- namely urban transformation -- as well as improving forestland. The government had earlier introduced plans to build new cities in some of Turkey's largest provinces, part of a countrywide urban transformation initiative. The 2B arrangement is expected to create more open spaces for newly built cities.
According to the law, 2B land can now be sold to willing parties and the buyers will get an additional 20 percent discount if they choose to pay in cash upfront. Those going for a payment in two equal installments will benefit from a 10 percent discount on the price.