Turkey: Acquisition Of Turkish Citizenship

The information provided in this article is intended to give a general overview on how to acquire Turkish citizenship. The principles and procedures relating to the acquisition and loss of Turkish citizenship are regulated under Law on Turkish Citizenship, numbered 5901.

Turkish legislation establishes two types of citizenship; by birth or after birth:

1. Acquiring Citizenship by Birth:

Turkish citizenship law is based primarily on the principle of ius sanguinis (by descent). Turkish descendants may be eligible to acquire citizenship regardless of the place of birth.

Article 7 of the Turkish Citizenship Law regulates the descent. As per the article, a child in any of the following cases shall acquire Turkish citizenship regardless the place of birth:

  • a child born to a Turkish mother and through a Turkish father in wedlock
  • a child born to a foreign mother and through a Turkish father in wedlock
  • a child born to a Turkish mother and through a foreign father in wedlock
  • a child born to a Turkish mother and through a foreign father out of wedlock
  • a child born to a foreign mother and through a Turkish father out of wedlock provided that the principles and procedures ensuring the establishment of descent are met. It may be by marriage, acknowledgment of the father, by a court decision according to Turkish Civil Law or in any other possible ways according to the law that is going be applied (e.g. law of the State that mother is a citizen of, law of the child's birth place, law of mother or father's residence).

Citizenship acquired by birth, shall be valid from the date of birth. There is no need to apply or notify to get a permission, consent or decision of any person or authority for the validity of acquiring the citizenship by birth. Even the acquisition conditions are met later in case a child born to a foreign mother through a Turkish father out of wedlock, the child shall acquire the Turkish citizenship from his/her birthday, not for example on the date of the Court's decision, establishing the descent with the father.

Although, if the mother and/or father living abroad have not made registration regarding the birth of a child until he/she becomes eighteen, the Ministry of Interiors shall make an investigation and decide whether the child had acquired Turkish citizenship through his/her parents.

The automatic acquisition or retention of a foreign citizenship (i.e. foreign mother or father's citizenship) does not affect Turkish citizenship and there is not any provision in Turkish law that prohibits multiple citizenship. It is not therefore necessary for the child who obtains Turkish citizenship to relinquish his/her other citizenship at any age.

Even though the main principle is acquiring the citizenship by descent, there are certain limited provisions for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship based on the principle of jus soli (by soil). In accordance with the principle to avoid statelessness, article 8 of Turkish Citizenship Law regulates acquisition of citizenship by place of birth. A child born in Turkey, who does not acquire any other citizenship through his/her mother or father by birth, shall acquire Turkish citizenship. This may be the case whether the child is of stateless mother and father or he/she cannot follow the citizenship of his/her parents under the law of the state which the parents belong. Foundlings found in Turkey would be deemed to be born in Turkey and would acquire Turkish citizenship unless otherwise is proved.

2. Acquiring Citizenship After Birth:

A foreigner or stateless person can acquire Turkish citizenship after birth. Acquisition may be possible by a decision of the competent authority, by adoption or by exercising the right of choice.

A. Acquisition by Decision of Competent Authority

Turkish Citizenship Law has adopted provisions that allow the acquisition of citizenship by the decision of the competent authority. There are four types of acquisition:

a. general acquisition

b. exceptional acquisition

c. re-acquisition

d. acquisition by marriage

a. General Acquisition

A foreigner may acquire Turkish citizenship provided that:

1. be in the age of majority and has the capacity to act either according to his/her own national law or, if he/she is stateless, according to Turkish law

2. has been legally and duly resident in Turkey without interruption for 5 years preceding the date of his/her application. The applicant may stay abroad without exceeding six months within 5 years.

3. verify his/her determination to settle down in Turkey with his/her manners (e.g. to buy properties, to make investments in Turkey)

4. has no disease constituting an obstacle in respect of public health

5. be of good moral character

6. be able to speak a sufficient level of Turkish 

7. has income or profession to provide for maintenance for himself/herself and his/her dependents in Turkey

8. has no situation posing an obstacle in respect of national security and public order

Foreigners who wish to acquire Turkish citizenship may be required, in addition to the conditions aforementioned, to relinquish their previous citizenship. Although it is allowed in Turkish law to have multiple citizenship, The Council of Ministers shall be competent to determine the principles regarding the exercise of this discretion, when a foreigner to be required to relinquish his/her citizenship, especially the citizens of States that do not accept dual citizenship.

A person who has fulfilled the above conditions does not automatically acquire the Turkish citizenship. The commissions to be established in provinces shall make examination of whether or not the applicant is eligible to acquire the citizenship and the folder of those who fulfill the required conditions is sent to the Ministry of Interior Affairs and after an examination carried out by the Ministry a decision shall be made on granting the citizenship.

b. Exceptional Acquisition

Turkish Citizenship Law regulates under article 12 that the Council of Ministers may reward foreign persons with citizenship in the event of exceptional states, following an offer made by the relevant Ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This may take various forms, including investment or other economic benefit brought to Turkey, scientific, technological or artistic achievements etc. States usually have special provisions for the naturalization of persons with extraordinary achievements in sports, arts, science and technology. Generally residence and other requested preconditions are waived for such applicants. Article 12 of the Law may especially applicable to entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, sportsmen and recognized immigrants:

a. Persons who have brought industrial plants into Turkey or have rendered or are believed to render an outstanding service in the social or economic arena or in the fields of technology, sports, culture or arts and regarding whom a reasoned offer has been made by the relevant ministries

b. Persons whose naturalization have been considered necessary

c. Persons who have been recognized as migrants

The only condition that is required to be met in exceptional acquisition of citizenship is not to be in a situation constituting an obstacle in respect of national security and public order.

c. Re-acquisition of Turkish Citizenship

Turkish Citizenship Law gives right to persons, who have lost their citizenship, to apply for re-acquisition. Articles 13 and 14 regulate the re-acquisition of citizenship. Applicants may re-acquire Turkish citizenship provided that they have no situation constituting an obstacle with respect to Turkish national security.

  • Persons who had lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining a renunciation permit shall re-acquire Turkish citizenship by the affirmative decision of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, irrespective of their residence period.
  • Persons who had lost Turkish citizenship because of their parents and have not acquired the citizenship by using the right of choice within 3 years from the majority age, shall re-acquire citizenship by the affirmative decision of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, irrespective of their residence period.
  • Persons who had lost Turkish citizenship by the Council of Ministers' decision on the grounds mentioned in article 29 of the Law (i.e. rendering services for a foreign state which are incompatible with the interests of the Republic of Turkey, rendering military services for a foreign state without obtaining permission) shall re-acquire Turkish citizenship by the decision of the Council of Ministers, provided that they have been legally and duly resident in Turkey for 3 years.
  • Persons who had lost Turkish citizenship by exercising their right of choice, regulated in article 34 of the Law (children who renounced their Turkish citizenship at their majority age in order to hold or acquire another state's citizenship), shall re-acquire Turkish citizenship by the decision of the Ministry of Interiors, provided that they have been legally and duly resident in Turkey for 3 years.

Another re-acquisition option is regulated in Article 43 of the Law for the person whose citizenship has been revoked per the provisions of the former Citizenship Law, numbered 403. They may have an opportunity to acquire Turkish citizenship provided that they do not have a situation that constitutes an obstacle with respect to the national security, upon the Council of Ministers' decision, irrespective of their residence period.

d. Acquisition by Marriage:

A foreigner, who is a spouse of a Turkish citizen may be able to obtain Turkish citizenship, if he/she meets certain conditions. In other words marriage with a Turkish citizen does not automatically grant Turkish citizenship to the foreigner. Person who has been married to a Turkish citizen for at least 3 years and whose marriage continues, may apply for acquisition of Turkish citizenship. Applicants shall be required to:

  • live together as a family
  • refrain from any activity incompatible with being a family
  • not to be in a situation that poses an obstacle with respect to national security and public order

If the spouse that possess the Turkish citizenship, dies during the application, the condition of living together as a family shall not be required.

Marriage must be valid according to either the parties' permanent residency law or Turkish law. Applicant needs to present documentation showing the validity of the current marriage, which would include documentation showing the validity of any previous divorce. (i.e. if one of the spouses has already been married with another person, or is mentally ill or not capable of understanding, the marriage is deemed to be null according to Turkish law)

Nullity of the marriage shall not result in loosing the Turkish citizenship, provided that the foreign spouse was in good faith when they entered into marriage. Otherwise he/she shall loose Turkish citizenship at the date of the decision of nullity.

A person who has fulfilled the above conditions does not automatically acquire the Turkish citizenship. The commissions to be established in provinces shall make an examination on whether or not the applicant is eligible to acquire the citizenship, including examination on the validity of the marriage and interview with the spouses whether the marriage is real, valid or not, and the folder of those who fulfill the required conditions is sent to the Ministry of Interior Affairs and after an examination carried out by the Ministry, a decision shall be made on granting the citizenship.

B. Acquisition by Adoption

Article 17 of Turkish Citizenship Law states that a minor child adopted by a Turkish citizen can acquire Turkish citizenship from the date of adoption provided that he/she has no situation that poses an obstacle with respect to national security and public order. It shall be assessed according to the adopted person's own national law, whether he/she is minor or not. If the adopted person is stateless or has multi nationality, Turkish law shall be applied. It is questionable how a minor can harm national security or public order.

Although there is not any provision referring to article 18 of the Law regarding the application procedure, the application should be examined by the commissions to be established and be sent to the Ministry of Interior Affairs for the decision. Even though the wording of article 17 may be understood as the minor shall acquire the citizenship on the date of Ministry's decision, it is argued that the citizenship shall be acquired on the date of Court's decision regarding adoption.

C. Acquisition by Right of Choice

Children who lost their citizenship because of their parents, who had renunciation permission according to article 27, may acquire Turkish citizenship within three years from majority, by exercising their right of choice. Citizenship shall be obtained by the Ministry of Interior's decision and the acquisition shall be valid from the date of the Ministry's decision.

Article 20 of Citizenship Law, which regulates the consequences of acquiring Turkish citizenship through a competent authority decision shall be applied to the children and spouse of a person who has acquired Turkish citizenship by exercising the right of choice.

The Consequences of Acquiring Turkish Citizenship through Competent Authority's Decision:

  • Acquisition of citizenship shall apply as of the date of the competent authority's decision.
  • Acquiring Turkish citizenship does not influence person's spouse automatically. Change of citizenship, acquiring or loosing by one of the spouses during marriage, shall not automatically affect the citizenship of the other spouse.
  • Children, whose guardianship belongs to a mother or father that had acquired Turkish citizenship, can acquire Turkish citizenship on the date of parent's acquisition, provided that the other spouse gives consent.
  • Acquisition of citizenship through the competent authority's decision only has effect on children who are minor, who are in care.
  • Children of parents who have simultaneously acquired Turkish citizenship are granted Turkish citizenship depending on their parents.
  • In case there is no consent of the other spouse, action shall be taken upon the decision of the Judge in the country where the mother or father has habitual residence. This provision may be criticized as the discretion on granting its citizenship has to belong to exclusively the Turkish State, not a foreign state's judge.
  • In case parent dies, consent condition shall not be required, and the child shall be granted Turkish citizenship depending on the parent who has acquired Turkish citizenship.
  • Children who were born out of the wedlock by a mother who has acquired Turkish citizenship shall also be granted Turkish citizenship depending on the mother, without requiring consent from the father.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Citizens:

Citizens of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus shall acquire Turkish citizenship automatically, if they declare their will in writing. Turkish authorities shall only check if the applicant is a citizen of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However persons who have acquired Northern Cyprus citizenship not by birth but after birth may not enjoy this privilege. They may apply for Turkish citizenship under the procedure of general acquisition regulated in article 11, which is subject to the competent authority's decision.

Performance of or Exemption from Military Service in case of Multiple Citizenship:

Turkey has signed special agreements with some countries, which have been concluded on exemption from military obligations in case of multiple citizenship. In principle, persons possessing citizenship of more than one state shall be required to fulfill their military obligations in relation to one of those states. A Turkish citizen, who has fulfilled his military obligation in accordance with the law of another state of which he is also a citizen, shall be deemed to have fulfilled his military obligation in Turkey.

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.

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”

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
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). 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 & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd 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 or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.