UPDATE – Property sales in Turkey up nearly 20 pct

UPDATES WITH COMMENTS FROM ANALYST

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – The number of residential properties sold in Turkey soared 19.2 percent annually in October, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) reported on Wednesday.

A total of 146,536 houses changed hands in October, up 15 percent compared to a month earlier.

The number of properties sold to foreigners jumped 134.2 percent year-on-year last month, TurkStat said.

Melih Tavukcuoglu, head of the Contractors’ Association on Istanbul's Asian side, called last month's rise in housing sales to foreigners "historic."

He said easing the requirements for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship had helped spur sales.

Under regulations that went into effect this September, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum $250,000 — down from $1 million — are eligible for Turkish citizenship.

Of the total sales, 6,276 houses were sold to foreigners, including 36 percent (or 2,283 units) in Istanbul, the country's largest city by population.

Following Istanbul, the Mediterranean holiday resort of Antalya came second with sales of 1,160 properties, while the northwestern province of Bursa ranked third with 448 units.

Official data showed that Iraqis topped the list of buyers in October with 1,439 properties, followed by Iranians with 557 units, Kuwaitis with 378, Germans with 341, and Russians with 336.

Tavukcuoglu added that the number of properties sold to Germans, British, and Swedes spiked sharply on an annual basis in October — up 222 percent, 131 percent, and 137 percent, respectively — thanks to the "recovery in tourism" this summer.

"We may sell 40,000 units to foreigners in 2018, this is a historic record for our country," he said.

210 foreign investors apply for Turkish citizenship

By Muhammed Boztepe

ANKARA (AA) – A total of 210 foreign investors have applied for Turkish citizenship after the country eased the process, the interior minister said on Thursday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency following his visit to Provincial Directorate of Migration Management in Ankara, Suleyman Soylu said: “On Oct. 22, first efforts started for testing. Until Oct. 30, 210 applications were made in Istanbul and Ankara.”

Turkey reduced the requirements for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship to encourage investment with the new regulations published in the country's Official Gazette on Sept. 19.

In October, the interior ministry had announced that it would open service offices to ease citizenship or long-term residence permit procedures for foreign investors.

The ministry said the offices serve to monitor the applicants' conditions, support investors, provide consultancy and track the applications.

Soylu recalled that the foreigners, who want to be a citizen of Turkey, need to make an investment of $500,000, buy real estate worth $250,000 or create jobs for at least 50 people.

He added that, once the investors who meet the requirements apply for citizenship via the special offices assigned for it — in various provinces of Turkey –, their procedures would be completed in 45 days.

*Sena Guler contributed to this story

Turkey: New citizenship rules to attract investors

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has reduced required limits for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship to encourage investment, according to new regulations published in the country's Official Gazette on Wednesday.

The lower limit of fixed capital investments to acquire Turkish citizenship for foreigners is reduced to $500,000 from $2 million.

Foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum $250,000, instead of $1 million, can avail Turkish citizenship.

The deposit requirement of minimum $3 million in Turkish banks is also lowered to $500,000.

The regulation also covers foreigners who deposit a minimum of $3 million in Turkish banks. A similar regulation applies to those foreign investors who hold government-issued bonds worth at least $500 million which are not diversified for three years.

Foreigners who generate jobs for minimum 50 people, — previous requirement was 100 people — also will be able to take Turkish citizenship, the gazette said.

Syrians to get Turkish citizenship after referendum

By Adem Demir

ISTANBUL (AA) – Syrian refugees living in Istanbul province will be considered for Turkish citizenship after April’s referendum on constitutional change, the governor said Thursday.

“The files of nearly 2,000 qualified Syrian people living in Istanbul have been prepared and have been sent to the ministry for further process,” Vasip Sahin said at a news conference.

At least 540,000 Syrians are living in Istanbul province, he added.

On April 16, a referendum on reforms that would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president and abolish the post of prime minister will be held.

Sahin said the submission of further files to the Interior Ministry were being prepared. “The files will be considered after April 16,” he added.

Around 2.9 million Syrians have fled to Turkey since the conflict in their homeland began in early 2011.

Last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the idea of granting citizenship to Syrians and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus later said granting citizenship could “create a bridge” between the countries.

New Turkish citizenship rules to encourage investment

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has made changes to its citizenship laws to encourage investment, new regulations published Thursday have revealed.

Regulations in Turkey’s Official Gazette state foreigners who bring fixed capital investments of at least $2 million or own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum $1 million with the special condition of not selling it for at least three years will be able to access Turkish citizenship.

The regulation also covers foreigners who deposit a minimum of $3 million in Turkish banks on condition of not withdrawing it for three years. A similar regulation applies to those foreign investors who hold government-issued bonds worth at least $3 million which are not diversified for three years.

Foreigners who generate jobs for 100 people also will be able take Turkish citizenship, the gazette said.

Turkey plans citizenship for long-term investors

By Fatih Erkan Dogan

ANKARA (AA) – The government has put the finishing touches to a proposal to widen eligibility for Turkish citizenship in a bid to attract foreign investors, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday.

The plan would see foreigners with a certain amount of investment in Turkey be accepted for Turkish nationality. Officials have completed the proposal, Kurtulmus said, and it would now have to be accepted by parliament.

The scheme is expected to encourage capital and investment to drive economic growth.

Syria, Iraq vital in anti-terror fight, Yildirim says

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey must develop good relations with Syria and Iraq for efforts to fight terrorism to succeed, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Wednesday.

Yildirim said Turkey would “enlarge its circle of friendship as much as possible” in remarks suggesting renewed ties in the region to replicate the recent rapprochement with Israel and Russia.

“It is our greatest and irrevocable goal — developing good relations with Syria and Iraq and all our neighbors that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” the prime minister said at a meeting in Ankara.

“We normalized relations with Russia and Israel. I am sure we will normalize relations with Syria as well. To prevail in the fight against terrorism, stability needs to return to Syria and Iraq.”

Last month Turkey ended its six-year split with Israel as well as restoring relations with Moscow.

Yildirim also condemned “evil-minded people” opposed to granting Syrian refugees Turkish citizenship. Around 2.7 million Syrians are being sheltered in Turkey.