Owning real estate in Turkey for multinational Syrians
Turkey is one of the countries that encourages foreign investment, especially in the real estate sector, as it offers facilities and incentives that attract attention and attract investors, including granting them Turkish citizenship when buying a property or a group of real estate worth $250.000, but there are several countries whose citizens are prohibited from owning real estate on Turkish soil for political and historical reasons, we will detail them in this article.
Real estate ownership in Turkey and the principle of reciprocity
The Turkish government had previously prevented the citizens of several foreign nationalities from owning real estate in Turkey, as their country was preventing Turks from owning their lands as well, but after 2012 Turkey decided to abolish the principle of reciprocity and allowed all foreign nationalities to own real estate on its lands, however, the five foreign nationalities remained prohibited from owning real estate in Turkey, for various reasons. We will detail the names of these nationalities and the reasons why Turkey continues to prevent them from owning real estate on its lands even after a clear decision was issued stipulating the abolition of the principle of reciprocity regarding real estate ownership in Turkey.
What nationalities are prohibited from owning real estate in Turkey?
According to Turkish laws, all foreigners residing in Turkey or abroad can own real estate in Turkey, except for five nationalities: Syrian, Armenian, Cypriot, North Korean, and Cuban. Exceptions to this are: Those who have obtained Turkish citizenship from citizens of the previous countries, who have obtained a second citizenship whose citizens are allowed to own real estate in Turkey, and citizens of Northern Cyprus.
Why are Syrian citizens prohibited from owning real estate in Turkey?
This is due to the dispute that occurred between the Turkish government and the French mandate government in Syria in 1939, after a referendum conducted by Iskenderun, where the mandate was removed from the French mandate authority and the state of Hatay was annexed to the territory of the Turkish Republic, which was met by the mandate government with the seizure of the property of the Turks in Syria the Turkish government prevented Syrians from owning real estate in Turkey.
So, in 1939, the Syrian government at that time confiscated the assets and funds owned by the Turks and annexed them to state property, which made the Turkish government do the same, which caused the citizens of each country to be prevented from owning real estate in the other's country.
In 2012, the Turkish government abolished the reciprocity law, but the holders of Syrian and 4 other nationalities were not included in the decision because the confiscated Turkish properties had not yet returned to their owners.
Are there ways to allow Syrians to own real estate in Turkey?
Of course, there are some ways through which Syrian nationals can buy houses and own real estate in Turkey, but the property owner does not obtain through these methods the full rights enjoyed by real estate owners in Turkey in general. Among these methods:
- Establishing a company in Turkey
Establishing a company in Turkey enables you to buy real estate under the name of the company that you established, and you have the right to use, invest and sell it later as the company’s representative before the Turkish government. But there are exceptions as well. In this case, the buyer does not obtain real estate residency in Turkey and cannot apply for Turkish citizenship through real estate investment in Turkey, even if the price of the properties he bought in the name of his company exceeds the limit of $250.000.
- If he holds Turkish citizenship
Syrians holding Turkish citizenship can directly and systematically purchase real estate in Turkey without any obstacles, especially since thousands of Syrians obtained Turkish citizenship by a decision of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the plan to grant Syrians exceptional Turkish citizenship is still in force and is being implemented.
- If he holds a second nationality
The holder of Syrian nationality who holds another nationality from the nationalities allowed to own real estate in Turkey can buy a property in Turkey and obtain all the privileges of real estate ownership in Turkey.
New laws on multinational Syrians owning real estate in Turkey
The Presidency of the Foreigners Department of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Land Survey in Turkey issued new laws on 16.11.2021 that include the amendment of 5 paragraphs related to the ownership of real estate by persons with multiple nationalities in Turkey, including Syrian nationals. The most important of these amendments are the following:
- Syrians who have obtained Turkish citizenship are allowed to own real estate and are treated as a Turkish citizen like other foreigners who have obtained Turkish citizenship, and it does not matter what nationality they hold.
In other words, foreigners holding Turkish citizenship will be treated based on Turkish citizenship regardless of their origins, including Syrian citizenship. Therefore, anyone with Turkish citizenship can own property in Turkey as a Turkish citizen, even if his original citizenship is among the nationalities prohibited from owning in Turkey.
The circular singled out the Turks of Syrian nationality who were previously treated by the law under the Syrian nationality regarding ownership in Turkey or imposed on them certain restrictions related to their nationality, which is prohibited from owning property in Turkey.
This circular settled the controversy over the ownership of real estate for Syrians who hold Turkish citizenship once and for all, and they have the full right to own and dispose of their property, without any obstacles or requirements like any Turkish citizen.
- A Syrian who has a nationality other than Turkish, such as German or Swedish, is treated as a Syrian citizen and is not entitled to own real estate in Turkey, regardless of his other nationality, as he is considered in this case according to his original nationality.
- Those born in Syria or other countries that are prohibited from owning real estate in Turkey, but they do not hold Syrian citizenship, they must prove that they do not have Syrian citizenship so that they can own real estate without any obstacles.
An example of this is a person of Palestinian nationality who was born and lived in Syria but does not hold Syrian citizenship. If he wishes to buy a property in Turkey, he must show proof that he holds Palestinian citizenship only and does not hold Syrian citizenship.
- Syrians of other nationalities who own real estate in Turkey before the issuance of the latest amendments, they will be treated according to the second nationality they hold, and they will not face any problems, unless they sell their real estate registered with the second nationality, then they will not be able to buy new properties again.
- For the Syrian heirs who do not hold Turkish citizenship, their cases will be considered by the Tabu Directorate in Turkey and appropriate solutions will be found that are in line with the interest of the Republic of Turkey.