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May 01, 2012, Tuesday

Lifting of reciprocity law enables citizens of Middle Eastern countries to buy property

One of the biggest debates in Turkey is if foreigners should be allowed to buy property in Turkey or not and whether there should be a limitation on those interested in purchasing property here.

Indeed, many foreigners have purchased property in Turkey in recent years by using special purpose companies or trusted Turkish friends.

The draft law on the Amendment of the Land Registry Law and Cadastre Law has been accepted by the parliamentary Justice Commission. The law introduces significant amendments to the current regulations and eases the way of property acquisition by foreigners in Turkey, to a certain extent.

Some of the remarkable changes adopted by the law are as follows:

Since 2006, foreigners have been able to acquire property in Turkey of up to 2.5 hectares max. With the new law, citizens of certain countries, to be determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Finance along with the opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be able to acquire property in Turkey measuring up to 30 hectares. The aforementioned ministries are also authorized to double this limit.

The most important change included in the new law is that the “reciprocity rule” has been revoked. Under the current regulation, real estate acquisition by a foreign citizen can only occur if Turkish citizens are allowed to purchase property in that foreign citizen’s home country. Accordingly, we can say that the new law paves the way to property acquisition for foreigners who were not eligible for such transactions due to the reciprocity principle. However, the new law also states that the Council of Ministers will be authorized to determine which country’s citizens will be allowed to purchase property. This is to say that while the reciprocity principle is lifted, the discretionary power is granted to the Council of Ministers.

This amendment will come into force six months after the new law is published in the Official Gazette, which is expected to happen in the upcoming days.

Under current legislation, foreign real persons can only buy property in Turkey for business or residence purposes. The new law enables foreigners to buy unconstructed properties provided that they submit a building development plan to the related ministry within two years. The aim of such a regulation is to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to invest in Turkey more easily.

We hope the bill shall be enacted without any hassles or delay. One should also note that the opposition parties still have a chance to oppose the amendment.

NOTE: Berk Çektir is a licensed attorney at law and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to [email protected] If a sender’s letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise expressly stated by the sender.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

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