Turkish citizenship for owners of a property in Turkey?


Suprising news came to light this weekend. Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybeki is said to be proposing a bill to allow foreign investors and those owning a property in Turkey the right to claim Turkish citizenship.

You can tell the election is getting close when proposals that sound almost too good to be true start to appear. The sort of bills that ‘may‘ get passed following the November 1st poll. The latest, as reported by Haber Turk, certainly does sound attractive if it is to be believed. It would allow foreign property owners and investors in Turkey the automatic right to claim citizenship or long term residency in Turkey if they wished.  According to the article posted last Friday, Zeybeki wants Turkey to be in a position to be able to compete with it’s “rivals” in other Mediterranean countries. He want’s to attract more foreign investment and property ownership in Turkey.

Zebeki believe’s that offering the right to Turkish citizenship would allow investors to enter the country freely, without the need of visas. It would give them similar rights to existing Turkish citizens, namely the right to work and conduct business as they wished in Turkey. Foreigners would also not need to undertake National Service.

“If this proposal is passed, it would undoubtedly attract more property investors to Turkey. It would mean foreigners owning a property in Turkey would have the same rights as natives. Living and working in Turkey would suddenly become far easier with few visa or permit restrictions. I do think that the reality of this proposal could create problems though. Locals may dislike foreigners taking jobs if they have limited language ability and could have been done by a local. They are also unlikely to like it if these new Turkish citizens didn’t have to undergo National Service yet were to be considered Turkish. I do think the current laws regarding residency and rights to work in Turkey do need to be reconsidered, yet doubt this bill will be passed. It will be interesting to see how far it gets following the November election.”  Suleyman Akbay, MD Oceanwide Properties.   

So what are your thoughts? How likely do you think the bill is to get passed or is it simply pre-election hype? Comment below and let us know.

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4 thoughts on “Turkish citizenship for owners of a property in Turkey?”

  • Dave Gardner

    İt does sound too good to be true but something really has to be done soon about the residency and visa rules. Ex pats are leaving for other countries or returning to the UK, partly because of the difficulties we have every year to get residency renewed. The rules are forever changing so there is no stability or confidence & it sometimes feels that we ex pats are not relly wanted in Turkey. A few years ago we could get a 5 year residence permit but that stopped & there is the inconvenience & expense of renewing every year again. İf we are really welcome then the opportunity to become a Turkish Citizen when you become a Turkish home owner would be great. İ do feel, however, that it should be for those of us who live here full time, not for owners of holiday lets. We already contribute to the Turkish economy by paying Council Tax, DASK, in some cases vehicle tax, and by spending our money here on goods & services. A recognition of this would be welcome. İt would also be very good for estate agents, builders, local companies, etc. as more ex pats would be encouraged to buy property in Turkey & to live here.

    • oceanwide

      Yes we agree Dave. If this law is passed it would certainly attract a lot more investors to Turkey and be great for developers and estate agents like ourselves. We assume there would be numerous clauses involved as to who would qualify etc. but none of this was clear in the original report from Haber Turk. As it stands, the residency rules do need to be looked at. They do make it difficult for people to spend 6 consecutive months in the country, as many wish to do over the summer. Hopefully, if nothing else, this proposal may make the government re-consider foreign residency rules, highlight the issues and inconveniences many foreigners face with the current set-up and prompt them to relax them again thereby attracting more foreign investment to the country and reducing the numbers selling up and leaving due to these issues. Thanks for your comment.

  • Stephen Smith

    I disagree with Dave on one point only that is that it should only be for people who live here full time.
    I purchased a 4 bed roomed villa with a private pool etc in order to live in it as my retirement home and we have for the past 2 years lived in it for the winter months and have let it out for the summer.
    I pay tax in Turkey on my letting someone, I employ the local traders for maintenance and transfers etc. Usually 8 people occupy my villa during the summer and they eat in the local restaurants and take trips etc. On that basis I would respectfully suggest that I and other people of my ilk add far more to the economy then simply ex pats who live here.
    I also own a vehicle over here and pay all relevant taxes.
    I have to say I would never have invested in Turkey had I realised my 5 year residency I purchased in good faith back in 2013 was going to be taken away from me because I chose not to live 8 months in Turkey,, I would probably have purchased in an EU country where there would not have been the hassle etc especially having to have MD plates on a car!

  • Pilvi Villanen

    Probably to be a Turkish Citizen would mean losing many rights in my home country. So it may not be such a good idea after all.


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