Turkey is an attractive country amongst the international land market due to its geography and rapidly developing economy. Thus, companies wish to expanse their presence in Turkey which one of the essential steps to do is to acquire immovable property in the country.
2. LEGAL GROUNDS
The legal grounds for immovable acquisition and rights in rem by foreign companies in Turkey are regulated in Land Registry Law No 2644. With the newest constitutional amendment, the President of the Republic of Turkey determines the citizens of which countries can acquire immovable property under the authorization in the Land Registry Law. Currently, citizens of a total of 184 countries may acquire immovable property in Turkey.
3. ACQUISITION OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY BY FOREIGNERS
The general rule of immovable acquisition of foreign companies is quite simple: Trading companies established in foreign countries only may acquire immovable property if there are special provisions to effect in the applicable laws. In addition, it is impossible for any legal persons established in foreign countries, except for trading companies, to acquire immovable property or rights in rem in Turkey.
There are special provisions in the scope of Law of Encouragement for Tourism, Law of Industrial Zones, and Turkish Petroleum Law.
3.1 Companies with Foreign Capital
Companies that are established in Turkey and whose shareholders include foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises, or trading companies qualify as “Companies with Foreign Capital” and they may acquire immovable property and limited rights in rem suitable for their operations; foreign shareholders must be at least %50 at this extent. Even if they own less than %50 shares, they shall be subject to authorization by governorships if foreign persons hold the position to appoint managers.
For example, a company that is established in France under the legislation of such country has shareholders who are citizens of France, Germany, and Turkey. This company now qualifies as a foreign company and may only acquire limited rights in rem in Turkey by the above-mentioned special provisions. But if the company were a trading company, and yet established and registered into the Turkish Trade Registry whose foreign shareholders still hold %50 and more shares, qualifies as a “Company with Foreign Capital” and may acquire immovable property in Turkey.
4. LEGAL RESTRICTIONS
We previously stated that only the citizens of countries determined by the Presidential Decree may acquire immovable property in Turkey. But there are some other restrictions even though the company is qualified as the company with foreign capital.
The total area of immovable property that can be acquired by a natural person of foreign origin throughout the country is thirty hectares maximum and can’t exceed the ten percent of the specific district where private property is allowed.
Natural persons of foreign origin and the companies established in foreign countries who develop a project in relation to the unbuilt land they bought within two years should submit their projects to the relevant Ministry for approval.
In case the immovable property intended for acquisition is included in a “Special Security Zone”, authorization is required from the governorship of the place, where the immovable property is located.
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