Running second after Iraqis in foreign residential sales in Turkey, Iranians have taken the lead in citizenship. The minimum amount required for citizenship dropping to $250,000 has raised foreigners' interest in Turkey's real estate sector.
The share of Iranians in foreign residential sales, which made a fast start this year with 9,618 units in the first three months, is rising every month. With this remarkable increase in residential sales, Iranians have become homeowners in different parts of the country.
In the first quarter of the year, the Iraqis led the way in foreign residential sales with 1,781 units, followed by the Iranians with 946 housing units.
In a statement to Anadolu Agency (AA), Fatih Çayabatmaz, the managing partner of VIPTurkishPass, which provides housing, citizenship and consultancy services to Iranians, said that the decrease in the minimum amount required for citizenship, which started in January 2017 with $1 million to $ 250,000 by Sept. 18, 2018, increased the Iranians' demand for residential purchases.
Recalling that the U.S., Canada, and EU countries used to rank first among the Iranians' preferences for citizenship, he said the emergence of the Syrian issue, the desire of millions of people to immigrate to Europe and the anti-immigration policies of U.S. President Donald Trump have led Iranians to turn to Turkey. He further stressed that Iran's inward-oriented policies after the embargoes, bans on exports and imports, and the problems with the surrounding countries caused about 75,000 Iranian companies in the Gulf countries, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Oman, to shut down and to turn their direction toward Turkey.
Çayabatmaz said the war rumors and the military mobility have also triggered the sudden rise in the foreign exchange market and started to cause uneasiness about the political future. He also stressed that the deepening and expansion of the embargo, the continuous depreciation of the Iranian currency, and the war rumors were among the factors that led to an increase in demand from Iranian people, who were overwhelmed by uncertainty, for housing purchases from Turkey.
"With the necessary presentations and promotions and accurate information, 50,000-100,000 Iranians could purchase housing from Turkey in a few years," Çayabatmaz said. Recalling that with the law issued in January 2017 to grant home ownership and citizenship for $1 million, 58 people from 19 countries received citizenship until September 2018, Çayabatmaz said after the reduction of this amount to $250,000 in September 2018, a total of 1,276 people from 63 countries received citizenship in the 5.5 months until February 2019, adding that 289 of them were Iranians.
"Some Iranians want to employ their money in Turkey, which they see as a safe haven, while some want to get Turkish citizenship to take advantage of the benefits of Turkish citizenship in the trade since sanctions cover the Iranian banking system," he continued. "Some want to benefit from tourism services because the Turkish passport grants the right of visa-free entry to 114 countries. You can get citizenship in other countries within 2-3 years after depositing money, while this period is as short as 2-3 months in Turkey. Having such facilities and advantages increases Iranian interest in Turkey."
Çayabatmaz said the fact that Istanbul is a tourism and business center attracts Iranians and that those who want to buy a house, establish a business, import and export prefer Istanbul, while Antalya attracts interest for tourism and holiday purposes as well. "Recently, cities such as Bursa and Trabzon have come to the fore in this regard," he noted.