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Foreigners' Acquisition of Immovable Property in Turkey

02 November, 2020

Foreigners’ immovable property acquisition and relevant limitations are governed bCode No.2644 on Land Titles. Importantly, Article 12 of this Code creates an exception which allows for foreginers to acquire Turkish citizenship through immovable property acquisition. As such, if the other conditions foreseen in the Turkish Citizenship Code and relevant legislations are fulfilled, it is possible for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship through acquisition of immovable property 

Article 35 of Code no.2644 recounts the requirements for and limitations on relation foreigners’ immovable property acquisitions in Turkey. The ambit of this article also includes limited real rights which can be established on immovable property, meaning that the provisions on ownership are extended to these rights as well 

The conditions for foreigners acquisition of ownership and limited real rights on immovable property are listed in Article 35(1), as follows: 

  1. To abide by legal limitations and 

  1. To be the citizen of one of the countries determined by the President based on bilateral relations and requirements of national interest 

The same article of Code no.2466 also imposes restrictions on foreigners land acquisition. The maximum total surface area of immovable property, on which foreigners are allowed to establish ownership or limited real rights, cannot exceed the following amounts:  

  1. 10% of the district surface area subject to private ownership 

  1. 30% of national hectare per capita  

The President can increase the limitation of 30% of national hectare per capita up to twofold. 

Per Article 35 (3) of Code no.2466, foreign commercial legal entities established in accordance with laws of their respective countries are also allowed to acquire ownership of and limited real rights on immovable property within the limits set in specific legal provisions. Within this framework, it is not possible for foreign charities and associations to acquire land in Turkey. 

Article 35 (3) of Code no.2466 empowers the President to limit, to set requirements for and to partially or totally halt and prohibit the acquisition of ownership of and limited real rights on immovable property in Turkey by foreign legal or real entities. 

There are general legal restrictions on foreigners’ immovable property acquisitions in relation to 

  1. Forbidden Military and Security Zones, 

  1. Equal Treatment Measures, 

  1. Private education establishments.  

Forbidden land, maritime and aviation zones are specified in Code no.2562 dated 22/12/1981 on Forbidden Military and Security Zones. Article 7 of Regulation no.83/5949 on Forbidden Military and Security Zones issued in relation to Code no.2562 prohibits foreigners’ acquisition of immovable property in 1st and 2nd Degree prohibited military and security land zones. 

According to Article 1 of Code no.1062 dated 28/05/1927 on Equal Treatment, if foreign country’s executive decrees or legislations partially or totally limit the property rights of Turkish citizens, in Turkey, that foreign country’s citizens’ property rights may be limited or their properties may be expropriated by the Cabinet of Ministers. 

Per Article 5 of Code no.5580 dated 08/02/2007 on Private Education Establishments, for foreign real or legal persons or such persons in partnership with Turkish citizens to establish international private education facilities to which only foreign students may attend, an approval from the Cabinet of Ministers is required. The following provisions in this article cite the conditions for and limitations on the establishment of such schools and the acquisition of land for this purpose.  

[1] A. Çelikel, G. Gelgel, Yabancılar Hukuku, İstanbul 2018, s. 329

[2] A. Çelikel, G. Gelgel, Yabancılar Hukuku, İstanbul 2018, s. 328

[3] T. Bilici, Yabancıların Türkiye’de Taşınmaz Mal Edinme Hakkı, İstanbul 2018, s. 87

[4] T. Bilici, Yabancıların Türkiye’de Taşınmaz Mal Edinme Hakkı, İstanbul 2018, s. 89