An increasing number of people from various parts of the world are moving to Turkey to start a new life, to work, or even to find peace of mind for their retirements. The country has developed dramatically in the last fourteen years, and the pace of progress in certain fields is nothing short of astonishing.
With its unique geographical location combined with a rich and diverse history, right in the cradle of many different civilizations, Turkey is a privileged place to live for expatriates and their families.
Many of Turkey’s new residents hail from countries like the UK, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Belgium, France, USA, as well as several of the Gulf countries. Thanks to the amendments in Turkey’s property law that lifted the reciprocity principle, foreign homebuyers and investors are now free to purchase any property in Turkey.
From flats in urban centers to villas in suburbs, there are a multitude of options to choose from when looking for housing in Turkey. Major metropolitan areas have the most modern and complete environment for an extravagant life in the city, where luxurious residence complexes offer all the daily amenities such as private security, kindergartens, sports complexes, social facilities, parking lots, and shopping malls for their residents.
Foreigners wishing to work or reside in Turkey are obliged to file an application to the relevant Turkish authorities with required documents in order to obtain a work or residence permit. The methods and principles concerning work permits to be issued to foreigners that will be employed in Turkey vary by the relevant sector, such as education, housekeeping services, health services, tourism, aviation, entertainment, and others, as well as with respect to foreign direct investments, special foreign direct investments, professional services, and liaison offices. Meanwhile, residence permits are issued to foreigners mainly based on ownership status of real estate or on the intention to run a business or establish commercial connections in Turkey.
The transportation system in Turkey makes good use of the country’s highly developed infrastructure. With more than 50 airports across the country, one can fly from one city to another in Turkey in less than an hour in most instances. An extensive network of dual carriageways and highways makes it very easy to drive from your home to any major city in Turkey. The high-speed train network, meanwhile, has been improving rapidly in the last decade; the 14 largest cities of Turkey are expected to be interconnected with high-speed train lines by 2023, the centennial of foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
The education system of Turkey underwent serious reforms in the last decade. Most apparent are the now compulsory twelve-year education and the dramatic increase in the number of schools and other educational institutions. Many private and foundation schools, in addition to public schools, offer education services. Moreover, international schools, where only pupils holding a foreign passport can attend, are present throughout the country. While schools providing education in European languages such as English, German, French, and Italian are available, there are other institutions where languages such as Russian, Japanese, and Chinese are taught as well.
The healthcare system in Turkey mainly operates with three different types of hospitals: public, university, and private. While social and health securities are governed in essence by the state, it is also possible to have private health insurance. The majority of hospitals in Turkey, both public and private, are either meeting or surpassing international standards in equipment quality and expertise.
The cultural activities in which one can engage in Turkey are only limited by individual interests and capabilities. Be it arts, hobbies, entertainment, or other leisure activities, the possibilities are endless. In all major cities one can find movies, plays, concerts, ballets, operas, and other varieties of cultural activities awaiting either participants or spectators. Local festivals and more traditional forms of leisure activities are also rising in popularity.
Turkey’s rich geography and suitable terrain make the country an ideal place for alternative sports such as mountaineering, golf, scuba diving, rafting, skiing, and yachting. Naturally, well-established and popular sports like football, basketball, and volleyball have a considerable number of players and supporters all over the country.
Located in the Eastern Mediterranean region and surrounded on three sides by temperate seas, Turkey has a climate allowing for extreme variations in weather, often in the same region or province. As such, it is possible to go skiing in a mountain resort after sunbathing on a sandy beach, both in the same day.
|Official Name of Country||Republic of Turkey|
|Government||Presidential System of Government|
|Population||80.8 million (2017)|
|Labor Force (Population)||31.6 million (2017)|
|Median Age||31.7 (2017)|
|President||Recep Tayyip Erdoğan|
|Coordinates||39° 55′ North, 32° 50′ East|
|Time Zone||GMT +2|
|Neighboring Countries||Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia|
|Major Cities (Population)||Istanbul (15.0 million), Ankara (5.4 million), Izmir (4.3 million), Bursa (2.9 million), Antalya (2.4 million) (2017)|
|Climate||Temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters|
|Country Code Top-Level Domain||.tr|
|Electricity Voltage||220 V, 50 Hz|
|Currency||Turkish Lira (TRY)|
|GDP||USD 851 billion (2017-Current Prices)|
|GDP Per Capita||USD 10,597 (2017)|
|Exports Value||USD 157 billion (2017)|
|Imports Value||USD 234 billion (2017)|
|Tourism Revenue||USD 26.3 billion (2017)|
|Tourist Number||32.1 million (2017)|
|Foreign Direct Investment||USD 10.9 billion (2017)|
|Number of Companies with Foreign Capital||58,418 (2017)|
|Inflation Rate||11.9% (CPI-2017)|
|Major Exports Markets||Germany (9.6%); UK (6.1%); UAE (5.8%); Iraq (5.8%); USA (5.5%); Italy (5.4%); France (4.2%); Spain (4.0%); Netherlands (2.5%) Israel (2.2%) (2017)|
|Major Imports Sources||China (10.0%); Germany (9.1%); Russia (8.3%); USA (5.1%); Italy (4.8%); France (3.5%); Iran (3.2%); Switzerland (3.0%); South Korea (2.8%); UK (2.8%) (2017)|
|Trade Agreements||Customs Union Agreement with the EU, Free Trade Agreements with Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Chile, EFTA member countries. (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein),Faroe Islands, Ghana, Kosovo, Lebanon, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Singapore, South Korea, Syria, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia|
Why Invest in Turkey?
10 reasons to invest in Turkey…
Domestic Market + EU
A skilled Workforce with Cost Advantage
Continuous Reform Process.
Liberal Investment Climate
Bengin R&D Ecosystem
An Introduction to Turkish Property Law for Foreigners
Knowing the basics of Turkish property law is essential for anyone thinking of buying a home in the country. This will help safeguard your interests, but also ensure that after you’ve chosen your new home, you can stay involved with the legal process of applying and signing for your title deeds. Before we start though, let’s answer some common questions.
Is it safe to buy property in Turkey?
Yes. There are many foreign homeowners in Turkey, some of whom live here all year round, while others just use their homes for holidays.
At the turn of the century, when Turkey passed laws allowing foreigners to buy Turkish real estate, the outdated system was a hindrance but these days, smooth-lined procedures and clear guidance, as well as advice, ensure foreigners are entirely in the driving seat.
Which nationalities can buy property in Turkey?
Up until 2012, many foreigners were restricted from buying property in Turkey because of reciprocal agreements. However that law was abolished in 2012, and now many nationalities can invest in Turkish real estate. A vast majority of nationalities have no restrictions.
Need to Know Turkish Property Law for Foreigners?
The first aspect is to know what you can and cannot legally buy. According to the Turkish land registry law 2644, namely articles 35 and 36, a foreigner can purchase residential properties, commercial premises, and land.
Restrictions that are in place include…
- No more than 30 hectares countrywide
- No more than 10% of the total area of a defined district.
- The property or land must not be within a military zone
Do I Have to Use a Lawyer?
No legal laws say you must use a lawyer, but as a foreigner, you are strongly advised to. The lawyer is responsible for drafting the sales contract, getting it notarized and checking the property for debts or military restrictions. Attempting to do this process, without any knowledge of the language, law or the system is a foolhardy endeavor.
As a foreigner, sales contracts need to be translated into your home country’s language, and when signing for title deeds at the land registry office, you are also legally obligated to use the services of a translator. This person must be officially accredited and licensed. Both the land registry and notary offices have lists of translators that they legally work with.
Can I Appoint a Power of Attorney?
You can appoint someone as POA to buy and/or sell the property on your behalf. However, the wording must be exactly as outlined by the Turkish government and not a general template. Most people appoint their lawyer, but it can be anyone you choose. If you can’t make it to Turkey to draft a power of attorney, visit the Turkish consulate in your home country to carry out the procedure.
Applying for Military Clearance?
Most foreigners get alarmed when they find out they need military clearance, but it is nothing to be worried about. The check is done on the property and not the person, and your lawyer will carry out the process for you. In previous years, waiting for the clearance often took four to six months. The system has changed now though, and approval usually comes through within two to three days.
Can I Get Turkish Citizenship by Buying Property?
To get Turkish citizenship by buying real estate, the value of your new home should be at least 250,000 USD, and you must keep it for three years.
What Taxes Need to be Paid?
When you purchase property in Turkey, you need to pay a stamp duty tax that is 4.4% of the purchase price. Sales agreement differ though, and if your new home is a resale, this is split between the buyer and seller.
Selling your home within five years incurs capital gains tax on Turkish real estate. Turkey has many agreements with countries around the world, and you won’t be subjected to double taxation through your home country’s legal laws.
Can I Rent Out my Property?
You can rent out your home, but two laws must be adhered to. If you plan to rent out short term, i.e. market it for holiday rentals, you must sign up to the GIYKIMBIL system. This involves registering the details of each person that stays in your home. The second is to pay income tax on rental returns and the local tax office in each district advises on how to declare your income.
If I Buy Property in Turkey, Can I Work?
Being a homeowner in Turkey doesn’t automatically entitle you to work legally. This is a separate process that needs a permit.
This article covers the most frequent questions about Turkish property law for foreigners, but you can also contact us by phone, email or by dropping into one of our offices, if you have more questions and want to speak one-to-one with a sales representative.
Alternatively, read a step by step guide to the buying process as well as our hints and tips to make sure your dream of a home in the sun goes smoothly.
Official name: Republic of Turkey
Location: Turkey is located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. European (or Balkan) Turkey is relatively small compared to the Asian part, the Anatolian Plateau, which is a large peninsula.
Area: 780,580 sq. km (301,382 square miles) with a total coastline of 8,430 km (5,238 miles)
Population: 80,810,525 (December 2017 est.)
Capital: Ankara (5.445 million inhabitants)
Landscape: The Asian part of the country – Anatolia is a high hilly plateau with narrow coastal plains. Its northern part is covered by the Pontic and Köroğlu mountain ranges, the southern by the Taurus Mountains. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape. The rivers Euphrates, Tigris, and Aras spring there. Anatolia is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, Aegean sea to the West and the Mediterranean sea to the south. The European part is covered by parts of Eastern Thrace plane and Strandzha mountain. It is separated by Anatolia (Asia Minor) by the Black Sea, Bosphorus, Marmara, Dardanelles, and Aegean sea. The biggest town in Turkey is Istanbul, which steps on both continents.
State Government: Turkey is a republican parliamentary democracy. Turkey is the only country with a Muslim majority population (99.8%) that operates under a secular constitution and a democratic government.
President: Recep Erdoğan
Official Language: Turkish
Religions: Islam is the largest religion of Turkey, with 99.8 % of the population being registered as Muslim (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews).
Turkey is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). Like most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is observed in Turkey, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour; 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3).
After the Summer months, the time in Turkey is shifted back by 1 hour to Eastern European Time (EET) or (GMT+2)
Weather: Aegean and Mediterranean coastal areas enjoy the typical Mediterranean climate. There is hardly a drop of rain during the sunny and hot summer (May to October). The water temperature in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas is warm and fluctuates between 23° and 28°C from north to south. The region around the Sea of Marmara, including Istanbul, has a transitional climate between Oceanic climate and semi-Mediterranean climate. The water temperature in the Sea of Marmara is also colder than the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas reaching only between 20° and 24°C during the summer (June, July and August). The Black Sea region has an oceanic climate (thanks to the protective shield effect of Caucasus mountains) with the greatest amount of precipitation throughout the year.
Most of the coastal areas have a high level of relative humidity during most of the year which makes hot weather feel hotter and cold weather feel colder than it actually is.
Country dialling code: +90
Measure units: degree Celsius (ºC), meter (m.), litre (l.).