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Buying property in Turkey

Traditionally Russian people have bought property mainly in European-Mediterranean countries such as Spain , France , Italy and Cyprus. However, these places have recently become extremely expensive and saturated. Nowadays, the Russia citizens have been seeking other alternative overseas destinations.

If you, as a Russia citizen, prefer buying a property at a very reasonable price which you can use yourself for regular holidays and that you can also rent out to get some income in a country where the summer is nice and long, stretching from March to November, and there are many tourism attractions, then Turkey is the most appropriate destination for you.

In 2007, more than 23 million tourists visited Turkey and more than 25 million tourists are expected to visit Turkey in 2011. This figure is expected to double within a few years. The fact that Turkey started full EU-membership negotiations in October 2005 are all potential factors which will contribute well to property market in Turkey.

1.1. Who can buy a real estate in Turkey?

1.1.1 Foreign nationals (real persons)

According to the article 35 of Tittle Deeds Law, foreign nationals (real persons) are able to acquire real estate in Turkey on the conditions of being reciprocal and complying with legal restrictions.

In implementation of the reciprocity principle, it is essential that real estate acquisition rights given by a foreign country to its own citizens and to commercial companies established in foreign countries according to the laws of these countries are also given to the citizens and commercial companies of the Republic of Turkey.

In this context, there exist reciprocity between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey regarding real estate acquisition.

1.1.2. Foreign companies

According to the article 35 of Tittle Deeds Law, foreign commercial companies having legal personality established in foreign countries according to the laws of those countries are able to acquire real estate in Turkey provided that they operate pursuant to the special laws such as the Tourism Encouragement Law, the Petroleum Law, the Industrial Zones Law etc.

But, foreign legal entities other than the above mentioned commercial companies, such as foreign charities, foreign foundations and foreign societies, etc. cannot buy property in Turkey.

1.1.3. Companies established/participated by foreign nationals (FDI Companies)

Legal entities (companies) established or participated in Turkey by foreign investors can acquire real estate or limited rights in rem in Turkey in line with operational purposes set in company`s Articles of Association.

If these properties are acquired by another company established in Turkey by foreign investors or a Turkish company owning a property is acquired by foreign investors, same rule applies.

On the other hand, the acquisition of sites in military forbidden zones, security zones and strategic zones by legal entities (companies) established or participated in Turkey by foreign investors, is subject to consent of the Turkish General Staff or military authorities designated by General Staff. The acquisition of sites in special security zones is subject to consent of the governor of the province where the property is located. The provisions of Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones Act No. 2565 are reserved.

1.2. Where and what type of property can foreigners buy?

Foreign nationals (real persons) from countries with which there exist legal and de facto reciprocities in relation to property purchase can buy properties in zones covered by an Implementary Development Plan ("Uygulama Imar Plani" in Turkish) or a Local Development Plan ("Mevzii İmar Plani" in Turkish) for use of residential or commercial purpose .

1.3. Forbidden zones

Foreign nationals and foreign commercial companies are not allowed to buy property in the military, strategic and security zones of Turkey.

In addition, the Council of Ministers is authorised to determine specific zones to be preserved such as lands which are strategically very important in terms of energy, agriculture, mining, history, cultural values, biological flora, and national security. Thus, foreign nationals and foreign commercial companies will not be able to buy property in those specially preserved zones.

In other words, TAPU (Land Registry) offices are supposed to check whether a property that is being purchased by a foreign national is within one of those forbidden zones or not.

Upon your application, the local TAPU office will do a search on behalf of you whether the asset is in a forbidden zone or not. If the information provided by military authorities confirms that the real estate is outside the military and security zones, then your application is accepted.

Please also note that military clearance may take a considerable time and it may be worth checking at what stage the procedure is. Thus, you are advised to gather the contact information of the TAPU office you are using so that you can call the authorities later.

1.4. Size limitation

The total area of all lands a foreign national (real person) can own in Turkey cannot exceed 2.5 hectares (25,000 m2). Please note that the Law allows the Council of Ministers to increase this threshold to 30 hectares.

The maximum size of all lands owned by foreign nationals (real persons) in a town cannot exceed 10% of the total area within the Implementary Development Plan ("Uygulama Imar Plani" in Turkish) and Local Development Plan ("Mevzii İmar Plani" in Turkish) of a town. The Council of Ministers can set lower ratio (less than 10%) taking importance of infrastructure, economy, energy, environment, culture, agriculture and security of a town into consideration.

1.5. What is the legal framework for property ownership?

The Constitution, the relevant provisions of the Civil Code, the Title Deeds Act, the Foreign Direct Investment Law and the relevant legislation form the legal framework which enables foreign people or corporate entities to buy real estate in Turkey.

1.6. Are Turkish citizens and foreigners treated differently?

According to the legal framework mentioned above, both Turkish citizens and foreign owners have equal property-ownership rights.

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