Having the path to citizenship eased, investors from all over the world decided to benefit from the opportunity. Data from the Ministry of Interior General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs yesterday showed Iraqis led the way in the number of investors granted Turkish citizenship, with dozens of other from many countries, including the U.S., Russia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and the Union of Comoros. Pursuant to the regulation, the path to citizenship was opened to those investing in fixed capital.
Purchasing immovable property provided that it will not be sold for three years or undertaking that immovable property with condominium or construction servitude shall not be sold for three years; creating employment; depositing cash in banks operating in Turkey on the condition of leaving the amount for three years; purchasing government debt instruments on the condition of holding them for three years; or acquiring real estate mutual fund shares or venture capital mutual fund shares on the condition of holding on to them for at least three years.
The amendment was introduced on Sept. 19, 2018. According to the regulation, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum $250,000, instead of the previous limit of $1 million, can now acquire Turkish citizenship. Also, the lower limit of fixed capital investments to acquire Turkish citizenship for foreigners was reduced to $500,000 from $2 million. The regulation also covers foreigners who deposit a minimum of $3 million in Turkish banks.
The deposit requirement of a minimum $3 million in Turkish banks was also lowered to $500,000. A similar regulation applies to foreign investors who hold government-issued bonds worth at least $500,000 that are not diversified for three years. The previous minimum requirement was $3 million for government bond holding foreigners. Foreigners who generate jobs for a minimum 50 people – the previous requirement was 100 people – will also be able to apply for Turkish citizenship.
Total of 9,962 people become Turkish when family members included
In addition to other investments, the amendment particularly led to a boom in demand for residential properties across the country, as sales to foreigners increased by 50% year-on-year in the first eight months of this year, reaching 27,748 units.
Some 39,663 properties were sold to foreign investors last year, the highest number ever. In 2017, foreigners bought 22,234 units. Sector representatives expect sales to exceed 50,000 at the end of the year.
The number of foreigner investors who obtained the right to become Turkish citizens reaches 9,962 when their families are included.
In the said period, the number of foreign investors applying for Turkish citizenship was 3,859 while this figure increases to 14,876 when their families are added.
Applications from dozens of countries
Over the last year, Iraq led the way in the number of citizens granted Turkish citizenship with 327 investors, followed by Afghanistan with 240 investors, Palestine with 170 investors, Egypt with 110 investors, Libya with 66 investors, Lebanon with 44 investors, Saudi Arabia and the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis with 29 investors each, Azerbaijan with 28 investors, Pakistan with 26 investors, Sudan with 24 investors, Russia with 22 investors, Algeria with 21 investors, and the U.S. with 19 investors.
Other countries benefiting from this right also include Germany, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, France, Syria, Belize, Belarus, Poland, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Grenada, South Africa, India, Canada, the Union of Comoros and Ukraine.
Interest up tenfold compared to previous year
This kind of application is being implemented in many countries, especially in the U.S. and Spain, said Ali Rıza Babaoğlan, co-founder of the investment consultancy company Grow in EMEA.
Babaoğlan said the amendment Turkey introduced was quite appealing, stressing that interest grew after the requirements were
eased. “The interest of foreign investors increased at least tenfold compared to the previous year. We see that the program provides significant benefits to the Turkish economy,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).
On interest from all over the world, he particularly noted the demand from Muslim countries. “There are people who want to get information about citizenship from all over the world and even some island countries, especially in regions that are close to our country and Muslim countries,” Babaoğlan said.
Stressing that Turkey’s dual citizenship application was a great advantage, he noted that less developed countries generally invested in Turkey for the citizenship itself, while developed countries made investments both for citizenship and gain.
Investments not limited to real estate
Babaoğlan added that foreign investors were interested not only in real estate but in many fields such as technology companies, energy, health and agriculture, recalling that they received applications from two foreigners who wanted to invest in hospitals and breeding farms.
Two foreigners from China and Korea decided to invest before arriving in Turkey, but these people loved Turkey when they came and changed their decision to expand their investments, Babaoğlan said, adding a Pakistani investor began production in the furniture industry and later started exporting his products to a large number of countries.
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