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August 07, 2012, Tuesday

Details of the reciprocity law

The law enabling foreign citizens to buy property in Turkey is known as the reciprocity law and was passed by Parliament in May.

The implementation of the law was delayed because the related sub-legislation (code of practice) has been waiting to be determined by the Cabinet for two months now. The Cabinet has now renewed the list of the countries covered and according to the new list, the number of the countries whose citizens can purchase property in Turkey has increased from 53 to 129. Several restrictions were also added for 52 countries.

Syria, Armenia, North Korea, Cuba, Nigeria and Yemen are not even on the list. These countries’ citizens cannot purchase any property in Turkey. With this coming legislation, there are restrictions of residence for citizens of China, Denmark, East Timor, Fiji and Israel. For citizens of Jordan, the limit is two residences and one workplace.

The most remarkable feature of the new law is the special conditions for certain countries. For example, citizens of Russia and Ukraine cannot purchase properties on the Black Sea coast. For Greece it is almost the same, but the restrictions are not limited to the Black Sea only.

Obstacles have been removed for citizens of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon and Turkic states in Central Asia, which are expected to invest in the area. With the new law, citizens of countries such as: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan can purchase properties without any restrictions.

Once the law has been enacted, there are restrictions on qualifying to buy property for citizens of 31 countries. According to these criteria, the citizens of Morocco, Egypt, Latvia, Afghanistan and some small African countries cannot own agricultural land in Turkey. Albanian citizens will only have the right to purchase residences and workplaces.

According to the new legislation before the Cabinet, citizens of 16 countries including Iran, China, Palestine and India have to get permission from the Ministry of Interior in order to purchase property. Iraqi citizens have to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs first.

The law that revokes the original reciprocity law will only come into force after a decision by the Cabinet. The new law comes with some restrictions and conditions. In this regard, the total acreage of the properties and limited real rights belonging to foreigners cannot be more than 10 percent of a town’s acreage or 30 hectares throughout the country. Foreign natural persons and commercial corporations are obliged to submit the project they are planning on their purchased land to the related ministry within two years.

Citizens of some countries can purchase properties in Turkey unconditionally: Germany, the United States, Argentina, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Morocco, Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, South Africa, South Korea, Georgia, Croatia, Holland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Kenya, northern Cyprus, Colombia, Kosovo, Libya, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mali, Moldova, Monaco, Namibia, Niger, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

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 seek 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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