With the latest amendments on the Turkish Citizenship Law published in the Official Gazette on Sept. 18, 2018, a number of regulations have been introduced and the relevant procedures have been eased for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship. The main purpose of this brief note is to point out the information on the revisions that have been introduced by the amendment regarding the acquisition of Turkish citizenship.Exceptional acquisition is one of the ways of acquiring Turkish citizenship with the decision and it is regulated under Article 20 of the regulation and the Article 12 of the code. Under the scope of Article 12 of the relevant code, provided that there is no obstruction with regards to national security and public order, as to exceptional cases in the acquisition of Turkish citizenship with the proposal of the ministry and the decision of the Council of Ministers: "Foreigners who bring industrial facilities to Turkey or who are thought to provide extraordinary services in scientific, technological, economic, social, sports, cultural and artistic fields and related to whom the relevant ministries bring forward a reasoned offer" are able to obtain Turkish citizenship.
In accordance with the above-mentioned legal arrangement, a foreigner meeting any of the following conditions is given a chance to obtain Turkish citizenship with the proposal of the ministry and the decision of the Council of Ministers pursuant to the subparagraph (b) of the first paragraph of the Article 12 of the code.
With the legal arrangement, foreigners determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology that have invested into a fixed capital at least in the amount of $500,000 may acquire Turkish citizenship. Fixed-capital investment means investment on the non-current assets and is an investment made to produce durable goods that can be used for a long time in production such as building and machinery. In this context, fixed-capital investment might be divided into two groups.
While the first group is constituted by construction investments such as construction, facility and restoration, machine and equipment investments establish the second group. Land arrangement, maintenance-repairing, approval works are given as examples of construction investments. The buildings of a factory, long-lived production devices, vehicles used on production, ships and airplanes are given as examples of equipment capital investment.
Buying immovable property
A foreigner determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization that has bought a property worth $250,000 or more provided that an annotation stating that it will not be sold for three years is issued to the title deed may acquire Turkish citizenship. The foreigner ("applicant") can buy one property or more than one property for $250,000. In case the applicant purchases more than one property, the value of the properties shall be equal to $250,000.
In order to prove the stated amount, the applicant shall receive an evaluation report from a certified evaluation company.
It should be noted that such evaluation company must have certification from the Capital Markets Board. Additionally, the annotation showing that the property will not be sold for three years should be added simultaneously to the title deed when receiving the title deed.
As I mentioned, the amendment that has expanded the scope of the acquisition of Turkish citizenship, is a step taken for foreign investors in the context of investing in Turkey and consequently acquiring citizenship.
Thus, foreigners who invest into fixed capital of at least $500,000, who purchase the immovable property at least in the amount of $250,000, who provide employment opportunity for at least 50 employees, who deposit cash at least in the amount of $500,000 to the banks operating in Turkey provided that they keep it there for three years, are able to obtain the Turkish citizenship by the proposal of the Capital Markets Board and with the decision of the Council of Ministers.
* Lawyer based in Istanbul