NKARA - Turkish Daily News
Parliament passed a bill late Thursday regulating property sales to foreigners after it was re-arranged bearing in mind the Constitutional Court's annulment of previous legislation.
Foreigners and foreign foundations will be able to own up to 10 percent of land within a building scheme, according to the new amendment. In case of liquidation of foreign companies in Turkey, the legislation will apply certain limitations which will enable foreigners to buy land in strategic and important areas only through special permission.
The Council of Ministers will be authorized to determine the sales of land in areas of importance to water, mining and energy supplies or in religious and historical sites.
While foreign ownership of real estate in military-restricted areas will be possible only by permission from command headquarters that are authorized by the General Staff, real estate in security areas will be purchasable by foreigners only through a special permission of the related governor's office, the legislation states.
�We don't sell our lands'
The law was strongly criticized by the deputies of the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP. During the discussion in Parliament, State Minister Mehmet Şimşek responded to demands for more restrictions on companies. �Many leading Turkish companies, including Koç, Sabancı and Toyota, are among the companies that accept 1 percent's worth of foreign capital contribution. We don't have the intention of selling our lands. We just try to support foreign companies' investments in Turkey to increase employment rates and food production,� Şimşek said. The Constitutional Court rejected revisions to Turkey's Land Registry Law last year after a legal appeal was brought forward by the CHP.
�The act increases the legal limit � which is 2.5 hectares � 12-fold, thus the law is immoderate enough to liquidate the effectiveness of the limitation,� according to the legal basis of the law.
The government missed a three-month deadline to alter the legislation after the court's ruling was published. The Turkish Land Registry Directorate prepared a new bill and sent it to the government, but the bill could not be enacted before the deadline. The delay resulted in the suspension of sale of property to foreigners. Realtors complained about the delays and asked the government not to further postpone the measure, which was crucial for sales in the summer.
January data indicates that a total of 60,351 immovable properties on an area of 37,125,330 square meters were sold to 70,336 foreign nationals in Turkey. British citizens topped the list, owning 4,867,676 square meters of land, daily Milliyet reported Friday.
Foreign companies founded in Turkey and people with dual citizenship will be exempt from the act. The new regulations will assess the building plan, instead of the city area, on the basis of which a certain limit will be determined.