ACQUISITION OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY BY FOREIGN REAL PERSONS IN TURKEY LEGAL FRAMEWORK
1. Turkey unequivocally recognizes and protects property rights.
Article 35 of the Turkish Constitution reads as follows: "Everyone has the right to own and inherit property. These rights may be limited by law only in view of public interest. The exercise of the right to own property shall not be in contravention of the public interest."
Acquisition of immovable property by foreigners in Turkey is regulated by the Article 35 of the Law on Title-Deeds dated 22 December 1934 and numbered 2644. This article was amended by the Law numbered 5782 and dated July 3, 2008, which came into force on July 15, 2008.
Along with the above mentioned article of the Turkish Constitution, Article 35 is the main piece of legislation which lays down the terms and conditions under which foreigners may acquire immovable property in Turkey.
2. Overview of the main provisions of Article 35
- On the basis of the principle of de facto and de jure reciprocity and in compliance with legal restrictions, foreign real persons may acquire immovable property for either residential or business uses in Turkey, provided that these properties are designated and registered for the said purposes in the zoning plans or local zoning plans.
- The sum total area of immovable property and limited real rights that may be acquired by foreigners in Turkey shall not exceed 2,5 hectares, per person.
- Companies with legal personality established in foreign countries in accordance with their respective national legislation may acquire immovable property and limited real rights according to the provisions of special laws (namely the Law on Encouragement of Tourism numbered 2634, Petrolium Act numbered 6326, Industrial Zones Act numbered 4737, etc.).
- The conditions and restrictions set out in the Law shall not apply to the immovable property inherited through intestate succession by a foreign real person provided that reciprocity criterion is fulfilled.
- The conditions and restrictions set out in the Law shall apply to the immovable property inherited by means of testamentary dispositions.
- In cases where reciprocity is not established, immovable property of the deceased shall be liquidated. (In practice, immovable properties in question are liquidated either by the successors or, if be needed, by the state, and the price is paid to the inheritor.)
- The Council of Ministers is authorized to declare restricted areas where foreigners are not allowed to purchase immovable property for reasons of public interest and state security upon the proposal of a Commission to be established under the chairmanship of Ministry of Public Works and Settlement.
- The sum total area of immovable property that shall be owned by foreign real persons must not exceed 10 % of the zoning plans or local zoning plans of any given county. Lower limits may be proposed to the Council of Ministers by the aforementioned Commission.