Turkish president approves bill on sale of real estate to foreigners

May 18, 2012, Friday/ 00:00:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

The Turkish president on Thursday approved a bill concerning the sale of land to foreigners.

The new law, which was discussed and approved in Parliament earlier this month, amends title deed laws and changes the current reciprocity requirement, which dictates that the citizens of 89 countries currently do not have the right to own property in Turkey because Turkish nationals are not entitled to own property in their home countries.

Among these countries are Russia, the Gulf states and the Turkic republics in Central Asia. The law also increases the limit on the size of land foreign buyers can purchase from two-and-a-half hectares of vacant land to 30 hectares. Buyers will also have to comply with a condition to provide plans for the construction of a house on the land before they make the purchase.

Foreign individuals and businesses will be required to submit their project proposals for the vacant property to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning within two years. If the ministry approves the project, it will be sent to the local land registry office, which will then monitor the project.

Opposition parties resisted the bill, accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of obeying the orders of big business, especially in the construction sector. The final decision on the articles of the law will be made by the Cabinet, which will be able to determine which of the 89 countries will be added to the list of countries whose citizens are able to purchase property in Turkey. The Cabinet will also be able to increase the 30-hectare limit on property purchase to 60 hectares if it deems it appropriate.

Furthermore, the law allows for purchases by foreigners of up to 10 percent of the total area of towns densely populated by foreigners. The Cabinet will be able to set limits and bans on the law depending on the country of origin and the number, type and qualifications of foreign businesses which own property in Turkey. Only individuals and private businesses will be allowed to make land purchases, meaning entities such as public institutions, state-owned businesses and the like from foreign countries will be barred from doing so.

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