The article 35 of the Land Registry Law dated 29/12/2005 with law number 5444 regulates that the foreigner’s right to purchase real estates in Turkey either with reciprocity rule or with inheritence as:
“With the reservation of reciprocity and compliance with legal restrictions, foreign real person can acquire real estates for the purposes of using as residence or business aims in Turkey that are separated and registered for these purposes in the implemented development plans or localized development plans. The same conditions shall be stipulated in the establishment of limited real rights on real estates. The total area of the real estates and limited real rights on real estates that a real person of foreign nationality can acquire all over the country can not exceed 25.000 square meters (6,17 acres).
Companies having legal personality established in foreign countries according to the laws of these countries can acquire real estates and limited real rights on real estates in Turkey according to the provisions of special laws.
In case of establishing mortgage in Turkey in favor of foreign real persons and trading companies having legal personality established in foreign countries according to the laws of these countries, the conditions and restrictions set out in the first and second paragraphs shall not be applied.
With the exception of foreign real persons and trading companies having legal personality established in foreign countries according to the laws of these countries, no one can acquire real estates and limited real rights on real estates in Turkey.
For the real estates acquired through legal inheritance by citizens of a country that have reciprocity with the Republic of Turkey, the conditions and restrictions set out in the first paragraph shall not be applied. For the real estates acquisition by means of transactions depending on death apart from legal inheritance, the conditions and restrictions set out in the above paragraphs shall be applied. Real estates and limited real rights on real estates acquired through legal inheritance by citizens of countries that do not have reciprocity with the Republic of Turkey shall be liquidated after their transfer transactions are performed.
De jure and de facto circumstances shall be taken as basis in determination of reciprocity. In implementation of this principle for the citizens of countries that have not granted land ownership rights, it’s stipulated that the rights granted by a foreign country for real estate acquisition to its own citizens should also be granted to the citizens of the Republic of Turkey.
The Council of Ministers is authorized to determine the places where foreign real persons and trading companies having legal personality established in foreign countries according to the laws of these countries can not acquire real estates and limited real rights on real estates within the areas in terms of irrigation, energy, agriculture, mine, and protected areas, and belief and cultural featured areas, and special protection areas and sensible areas due to flora and fauna features, strategic areas due to public interests and national security by means of the proposals of relevant public institutions and organizations with the registry based coordinated maps and plans, and the rate of the areas where foreign real persons can acquire real estates are not more than 5 per thousand according to the provinces and provinces’ areas. Proposals of the public institutions and organizations within these scope shall be examined, appreciated and submitted to the Council of Ministers by means of a commission that carries out studies within the authority set out in this paragraph and constitutes of relevant representatives of administration in the structure of the Ministry that General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre is related to.
Map and coordinate values concerning the military forbidden zones, military and private security zones and strategic zones that are determined after the enforcement of this law and their alterations shall be given without any delay by the Ministry of National Defense to the Ministry that General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre is related to.
The parcels needed to be expropriated or to be annotated on land register due to be in the areas determined in the above paragraphs shall be notified by relevant institutions to relevant Land Registry Offices.
The real estates and limited real rights on real estates acquired contrary to the provisions of this article or determination of misuse according to the purpose of acquisition without legal necessity shall be converted to value and paid to owner of this property, unless the real estate is liquidated by the owner within the period given by Ministry of Finance.”
According to the decision of The Council of Ministers about the existence of reciprocity between Turkey and a foreign country regarding a real estate acquisition, the citizens and trade companies of the Republic of Turkey should also have the right to acquire real estate in that foreign country and this right must be accepted by laws and must be practically applicable.The reciprocity principle has some exceptions in terms of heimatlos persons, refugees and foreign real and legal persons who want to make investment for tourism objective in Turkey so that they are being exempted from reciprocity principle and restrictions formulated for foreigners and it would be enough to prove their situations with an official document for exemption in order to apply for a real estate acquisition.
Another important issue about the real estate acquisition of foreigners in Turkey is the zone restrictions. The Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones geographically restrict the real estate acquisition of foreigners. The real estate located within military forbidden zones and security zones cannot be sold, transferred or leased to a foreigner. Therefore, first the real estate that will be bought has to be inspected and in case of a zone clearance the application to purchase can be made to the Land Registry. After the official application to the Land Registry with the necessary documents the competent military post made by the Military of National Defense determines whether the real estate demanded by foreign real or legal person is located out of Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones or not.
The required documents for a real person application are:
a. Title deed of the real estate if available, otherwise a document indicating the city block and parcel of the real estate or verbal statement of the owner.
b. Identity card or passport of foreigner given by his/her own country and two passport-size photographs.
c. If the person applying for the purchase is a representative, a legal document of attorney of the representative, a photo-ID card, two passport-size photographs of the representative, are required. If some of the purchasers are not present during the transaction, photo-ID card, two passport-size photographs, and a legal document of attorney of the representatives that represent the purchasers, are required.
The required documents for a legal person application are:
a. Companies established according to the Foreign Direct Investment Law numbered 4875 will show competence document given by Turkish Trade Registry, a document given to the person based on this, and signatures certificate.
b. Foreign trading companies established in foreign countries according to their laws are required, in compliance with the legislation of their country, to show a document having the effect of competence document given by relevant authorities.
Resource: General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre