Turkey: Purchasing Real Estate In Turkey: Requirements For Foreign (Non-Turkish) Buyers

Last Updated: 15 January 2014
Article by E. Benan Arseven and Burcu Güray

Recent amendments to Turkish law now allow real persons of many nationalities to purchase real estate in Turkey for the first time. Previously, foreign real persons could only purchase real estate in Turkey if their own country allowed Turkish citizens to purchase real estate there.

While each property has its own specific considerations and requirements which may affect the procedures for acquisition, this article provides an overview of the general process and procedures for foreign buyers purchasing real estate in Turkey. The article also outlines common document requirements, fees and taxes involved.

1. The reciprocity principle has been lifted, but not totally

Until recently, foreign real persons could only purchase real estate in Turkey if their own country allowed Turkish citizens to purchase property ("the reciprocity principle"). In March 2012, amendments to the Land Registry Law numbered 2644 ("Land Registry Law") removed the reciprocity principle, allowing many nationalities the opportunity to purchase Turkish real estate for the first time.1

The amended law increases the nationalities allowed to purchase real estate in Turkey "free of restrictions" from 89 to 183. However, given that there are over 190 countries in the world, while the number of nationalities eligible to purchase property in Turkey has improved considerably, some are still excluded or subject to restrictions.

The Council of Ministers has provided each Land Registry Office with a list which outlines the nationalities which are permitted to purchase real estate in Turkey. It is advisable for prospective foreign buyers to contact the relevant Land Registry Office to discuss the specific requirements applicable to the sale of a particular piece of real estate to someone of their nationality. This is because some nationalities may be subject to specific rules, restrictions and procedures which arise from their nationality or the location of the target property.

2. Restrictions on foreign real person buyers

Acquisition of real estate by foreign real person buyers is regulated by the Land Registry Law. Under the Land Registry Law, foreign real persons can acquire real estate or limited real rights (rights in rem) in Turkey, subject to the following restrictions:

  1. The foreign real person must be citizens of a country which the Council of Ministers has determined to be entitled to acquire real estate in Turkey.2 The Council of Ministers has issued a recently expanded list of these countries to Land Registry Offices.
  2. The foreign real person's acquisition of real estate in Turkey cannot exceed 30 hectares country-wide, nor can it exceed 10% of the urban areas in a given district.3 The Council of Ministers has discretion to increase the 30 hectare limit by up to 60 hectares.4
  3. When national interests require, the Council of Ministers has the discretion to limit, wholly or partially cease, or prohibit the acquisition of real estate by foreign real persons. The Council of Ministers may exercise this discretion based on the criterion of country, person, geographical region, duration, number of acquisitions, proportion, type, characteristic, square meter and amount.5
  4. If the real estate falls within the limits of military forbidden zones, military security zones or strategic zones, a permit will be required to acquire this property. The necessary permits are obtained from the general staff (genelkurmay başkanlığı), the commanderships appointed by the general staff, or the provincial governorship (vâlilik). Please note that recent amendments effective from 14 October 2013 mean that military clearance may not be required where the real estate has already been granted clearance for sale to a foreigner purchaser.

3. Real estate title transfer – A two stage process

To purchase real estate in Turkey, a potential seller and buyer must submit an application to the Land Registry Office in the area where the target real estate is registered. There are two stages to this process: first the pre-sale approval and secondly, the actual title transfer.

There is no difference between Turkish citizens and foreign real person with regard to the documents required during the pre-sale approval process. However, please note that if the purchaser does not speak Turkish, a certified Turkish translator will be required during the title deed transfer (section 3(b) below).

  1. Obtain approval for the purchase from the Land Registry Office

    Before the property can be transferred, the buyer and seller must apply for and be granted approval for the purchase by the Land Registry Directorate. When filing such an application, the seller and the buyer must supply a range of documents and pay certain fees. Depending on the parties' preferences, they may submit these documents together or separately.

    The seller (or his/her authorized representative) must provide the following documents to the Land Registry Directorate:

    1. Identification document for the seller
    2. One photo of the seller taken within the last six months
    3. Title deed of the property, or information about the village/district, block, building plot, detachment,
    4. Property Value Statement obtained from the relevant municipality.
    5. Earthquake insurance policy for the buildings
    6. If the seller makes the application through an authorized representative, documents regarding this authorization

    The foreign real person buyer must obtain a Turkish tax number and then should submit the following documents to the Land Registry Office:

    1. Identification document or passport for the buyer, together with its translation
    2. Two photos of the buyer taken within the last six months
    3. If a proxy is acting on the buyer's behalf, the original or certified copy of the power of attorney and its approved translation.

    The Land Registry Office will check the buyer against the relevant restrictions (outlined in Section 2 above). If none of these restrictions affect the buyer, the Land Registry Office will turn its inquiries to analysis of the property's location.

    The Land Registry Office inquires with the relevant military authorities whether the property is located within a military or special zone. If the military authorities advise the Land Registry Office that the property is in a military zone, the buyer will need to apply for a permit to purchase the property.

    When the Land Registry Office inquires with the military authorities about the property's location, the buyer must pay the circulating capital fee. This fee is for the map prepared by the Cadastre Directorate. The buyer and seller may agree to share the cost of this fee.

    The Land Registry Office will inform the buyer of the outcome of their checks. If the buyer is not restricted from purchasing the property and it is not located within a military or special zone, the Land Registry Office will give the buyer an appointment for transferring ownership.

    The length of time between the parties' application and receiving the Land Registry Office's decision will depend on the correspondence between the Land Registry Directorate and the military authorities. In some instances, this may take more than a month.

    If the Land Registry Office declines the foreigner's application to buy the property, this decision can be appealed to the relevant Regional Office of the Land Registry Directorate.

  2. Title transfer at the Land Registry Office

    Once the Land Registry Office approves the buyer to purchase the property, both the buyer and the seller (or their proxies) must visit the relevant Land Registry Office to perform the sale transaction.

    The buyer and seller should have agreed on the terms of the purchase before visiting the Land Registry Office. If either party authorizes a proxy to act on their behalf in the sale or purchase of real estate, the proxy must be issued by a Notary Public in the form required by legislation.

    Where a legal entity is selling the property, a representative may conduct the sale procedures on behalf of the legal entity. However, the representative must submit his/her authorization certificate to the relevant Land Registry Office in order to perform the transaction.

    For the sale of real estate between the parties to be legally valid, it is compulsory that:

    1. Both the seller and the buyer are present at the Land Registry Office (or represented by a proxy); and
    2. The parties enter a sale agreement in the required official form while they are at the Land Registry Office.

    If a sale agreement is not compliant with the Land Registry Office or the Notary Public's document requirements, the document will be null and void in Turkish law.

4. Preliminary sales agreements – Agreement to transfer real estate in the future

It is possible in Turkish law to make a promise to sell/buy real estate at some future date by signing a preliminary sale agreement. This is different to the sale and purchase of real estate discussed in section 3 above. A preliminary sale agreement establishes the initial framework for the final agreement. It grants either party the right to demand the execution of a sale agreement at a later date.

If one of the parties breaches its contractual obligation to execute the sale agreement, the preliminary sale agreement does not automatically result in the transfer of property ownership. The other party must actively enforce the transfer of ownership.

To be legally valid and binding, a preliminary sale agreement must be issued by a Notary Public and signed by the parties in front of the Notary. Where a preliminary sale agreement is not compliant with the Land Registry Office or the Notary Public's document requirements, the document will be null and void in Turkish law.

The pre-sale approval process outlined in section 3(a) above does not apply to preliminary sale agreements.

5. Considerations for potential foreign buyers of Turkish real estate

  1. It is not compulsory to use a real estate agent

    It is not compulsory to purchase real estate through an estate agent. Where an estate agent is used though, the commission is determined by the local chamber of real estate agents, but is still subject to negotiation. For 2013, the commission was set at 3% of the sale price.

  2. It is not compulsory to use an attorney

    It is not compulsory to hire an attorney or any other type of professional during purchase of real estate in Turkey. However, since the procedures can be complex, it is highly advisable to obtain legal advice. Factors which can complicate acquiring real estate in Turkey include:

    • The current physical condition of the real estate
    • The existence of any encumbrances on the property
    • Zoning plan restrictions or proposed changes to the zoning plans
    • Legal issues governing neighboring properties
    • Operational authorizations and restrictions regarding certain types of properties, such as factories, sports facilities, shopping centers, hotels, as well as other types of commercial and special property types
    • The paperwork and the registration bureaucracy involved in establishing legally fool-proof title to the property
    • The terms of payment
    • Establishment of securities where a partial payment takes place prior to the transfer of the title deed.
  3. Previous tax debts of the real estate

    Potential buyers should check whether the property tax for the real estate has been paid. Where the previous property taxes have not been paid, the new owner and the previous owner will be jointly and severally liable for the tax debt. However, in practice, the Land Registry Office asks the parties to submit a Property Value Statement which is obtained from the Governorship and the Governorship will only issue this document if there are no unpaid tax debts.

  4. Property Tax Declaration

    Buyers must submit a Property Tax Declaration to the relevant municipality before 31 December of the year in which they bought the real estate.

  5. Compulsory earthquake insurance

    It is compulsory for the owners of real estate to take out an earthquake insurance policy. If the real estate has not already been insured, the new owner must take out such an earthquake policy.

  6. Acquisition of real estate at construction phase

    When acquiring real estate at the construction phase, the sale price is usually paid in installments. The last installment is generally paid when the title deed is transferred at the Land Registry Office. Previous installments are paid before the title transfer takes place. This involves risks for the buyer arising from the seller potentially delivering the real estate late, or not at all. Therefore, potential buyers considering acquiring real estate whose construction is not yet completed are strongly recommended to obtain securities against the installments which are paid prior to the final transfer of the real estate and title deed at the Land Registry Office (discussed in Section 3(b) above).

  7. The Land Registry Office holds information which is useful to buyers

    Potential buyers should not sign a legally binding purchase agreement or make any payments before obtaining information from the relevant Land Registry Office about the real estate concerned.

    The Land Registry records should contain information about whether the property is subject to any encumbrances (such as real rights, mortgages or leases), whether there are any issues which affect the property, imperfections to the title deed, or matters which may prohibit its sale.

6. Fees and costs involved in purchasing real estate

The acquisition of real estate takes effect only after it is duly registered at the relevant Land Registry Office. Once the title has been transferred, the buyer must pay the sale price and the seller must allow the buyer to have occupation of the property.

To prevent tax avoidance, the sale price cannot be less than the market price determined by the relevant Governorship. The sale price is noted on the formal Title Deed document and the Title Deed Fee is calculated based on this amount.

In addition to the sale price, there are certain financial obligations which arise during the purchase of real estate in Turkey. These are outlined in the table below and VAT is discussed in Section 7 below.

7. VAT Regime for the sale of real estate in Turkey

If the seller generates a commercial income from the sale of real estate, the sale transaction will also be subject to Value Added Tax ("VAT"). This is in addition to the financial obligations listed in the table above. The ratio of VAT depends on the net area of the real estate.

In principle, the VAT payer is the seller. However, since VAT is a tax which can be passed on to the other party, in practice the seller generally adds the VAT amount onto the sale price to create one combined sale price. This effectively results in the buyer paying the VAT amount.

8. The recent amendments do not affect Foreign Companies

The recent amendments to the Land Registry Law do not affect the rights of foreign companies to purchase real estate in Turkey. It remains that only foreign companies which operate in certain industries may purchase real estate in Turkey. The most important consideration here is the company's nationality, not the nationalities of its partners.

According to the Land Registry Law, companies which are duly established in foreign countries (in accordance with their own country's laws) are entitled to acquire real estate in Turkey, provided that they operate within the scope of the following Turkish laws:6

  1. The Petrol Law numbered 63267; or
  2. The Tourism Encouragement Law numbered 26348; or
  3. The Industrial Regions Law numbered 47379.

Other restrictions also apply to foreign companies where national interests or military zones are involved.10

Please note that foreign companies and foreign capitalized Turkish companies are treated differently in this context.


1. The Land Registry Law was amended by the Law numbered 6302, dated 3 March 2012. This was published in the Official Gazette on 18 May 2012 as parliamentary decision 28296

2. As per Article 35/1 of the Land Registry Law

3. Districts are administrative sub-units of cities. For example, Istanbul is deemed to be a city and Beyoğlu is a district

4. Article 35/1 of the Land Registry Law

5. Article 35/3 of the Land Registry Law

6. Article 35/2 of the Land Registry Law

7. Numbered 8659 and dated 7 March 1954

8. Numbered 17635 and dated 12 March 1982

9. Numbered 24645 and dated 9 January 2002

10. Article 35/3 of the Land Registry Law

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

E. Benan Arseven
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
HS Attorney Partnership
Ketenci & Ketenci Hukuk
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
HS Attorney Partnership
Ketenci & Ketenci Hukuk
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions