Foreign Investments: The Nuances of Buying Property in Turkey


To say the least, Turkey is an interesting place. It is a culmination of many layers, from the Byzantium, Ottoman, and now Turkish era–it is widely recognized as the crossroads for many religions and cultures, bridging the East and West for centuries. Even today, many continue to show interest in making Turkey their second home (can you blame them?). According to the A.T. Kearney FDI Confidence Index, Turkey ranked 13th place in 2012 for the world’s most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Currently, the political and social state of the country is going through a very interesting “crossroad” in itself, so it’s a good time for foreign investors to learn more about the slight differences in buying property in Turkey.  Trust us, it’s worth the effort. Just take a look at this place:

Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, Turkey

Ok, now that we have you hooked. Start learning about who and what types of investors are encouraged to buy, from whom, and how to actually do it. But first, know that…

Foreign investment is encouraged

If you’re thinking about buying property here, know that foreign investment is most certainly encouraged by the Turkish government.

But before we begin, know that politically speaking, it must be noted that there is a divide between leaders as to which foreign investors should be targeted and what direction these investments will take the country in. To be more specific, Turkey have been working on obtaining membership to the European Union for a while now. So of course, one of the key ways of transitioning into a full EU membership is to attract and retain (FDI) by Western investors.

On the other hand, Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has publicly shown a growing interest in solidifying Arab-Turkish relations by promoting more transactions with Arab investors. Opposition parties (such as the Republican People’s Party, otherwise known as the CHP Party) who continue to promote the accession into an EU membership feel skeptical and question the motives of the prime minister for focusing on the East instead of the West, which would possibly prevent the country from becoming an EU member.

Read: “Turkey looks East for FDI” by TRENDS: The International Magazine on Arab Affairs

But overall, the Turkish government is still committed to obtaining its goal of becoming a part of the European Union, which if it did happen, would be the first Muslim country to join the bloc. So it continues to create an open-market required by the EU that would allow Turkey on a path to membership.

Who owns what in Turkey

Unlike many of its other European counterparts, a large portion of land proprietorship in Turkey is owned by the state, rather than private entities. The interesting part of about this is that a portion of these lands are unused, like desolate farmlands, and are owned and managed by the Undersecretariat of Treasury as well as Ottoman foundations that have retained custody for centuries, even after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

As long as the land you’re interested in doesn’t conflict with public development, or environmental and government initiatives, then the transaction is arguable easier than if buying land from a private entity. Why? Because the transaction would rely on the correspondences between ministries, which is a bit more streamlined (or so it appears to be, some would disagree).

Nevertheless, the issue of foreign investment does bring back political bitterness for some (such as the Ottoman Foundations who wish to retain Turkish land with its own nationals), however it’s still a motion that is moving forward.

How to obtain Turkish property

The legal framework has been modified several times over the past 20 or so years. But according to a law enacted in 2006, foreign nationals must be cleared by both the Turkish military authorities, as well as the Council of Ministries. Foreign nationals are also not allowed to purchase more than 6 acres of land, cannot purchase villages and over 10% of land in any designated towns. Additionally, land can be obtained by foreign nationals whose countries allow Turkish citizens to purchase land in their country. As in, the gesture must be reciprocated. So far about 85 countries or so agree to this. For more information on the legal restrictions of obtaining property, visit for more information.

As you may already know, our team at Geo Properties are specialized in the buying and selling of investment properties, with a seasoned knowledge of the international market. To contact an agent for more information, please email us to schedule a consultation.