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The legal side of purchasing properties in Turkey.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- As I have mentioned in my previous columns, Turkish Land Registry Law No. 2644 allows foreign citizens to buy all kinds of property in Turkey. With the abolishment of the reciprocity rule, more foreign citizens now have an opportunity to purchase property. However, there are still some difficulties and procedures to be considered and followed by foreign citizens before the purchase of a property in Turkey.

First of all, it is very important to keep in mind that foreign nationals and foreign commercial companies are not allowed to buy property in military, strategic and security zones in Turkey. On top of these limitations, foreign nationals and foreign commercial companies are not able to purchase property in special preservation zones, which are different to military zones. The Cabinet has the authority to create further zones for protecting strategically important locations in terms of national security, energy, history, agriculture, mining, cultural sites and the environment. The military, strategic and security zones in Turkey are located in areas where people aren't necessarily looking to obtain land. We fully respect those zones and it is likely no foreign buyer would be interested living next door to a military base.

Once a foreign citizen has decided to purchase a property, the title deed office will check if the property that is being purchased is in one of the forbidden zones or not. If the property is not in one of these zones, then you can proceed and purchase the property freely. In order to speed up the long process, a new guideline has recently been published regarding military forbidden zones and security zones. According to this guideline, if military zone clearance has been obtained for a specific bloc and plot, a foreign citizen can easily purchase a property which is located in the same bloc and plot without applying to the military to ask again whether or not the property falls in the military zone.

In addition, after deciding on the property to be purchased, it is recommended to check the property details in the relevant title deed office. At this point, it is crucial to seek the help of a legal adviser. The legal adviser should check block, plot and layout numbers of the property and, most importantly, should check if there are any debts or liens on the property. Also, there should not be any annotations prohibiting the sale of the property. Construction servitude of the property should also be established. The title deed offices can provide a document related to construction servitude indicating the land share of the property that is to be purchased. It should be noted that a property without construction servitude is not eligible for a mortgage deal with banks.

Other than the abovementioned points, another crucial part of purchasing a property is to sign a "promise to sell" agreement with the owner. In order to have a legally binding agreement, some legal requirements should be fulfilled with respect to the structure of the agreement. For instance, it is important to sign the "promise to sell" agreement before a public notary with the actual owner or a person authorized by the owner. However, legal ownership of the property does not pass with a "promise to sell" agreement or other kind of purchase agreement to be signed before the public notary. "Promise to sell" agreements only provide a right to the requisition of the transfer of title deeds to the purchaser. According to Turkish legislation, as a general rule applicable both foreigners and Turkish citizens, the transfer of the ownership of a property can only made in title deed offices. In order to avoid any legal problems that a prospective property owner may face in the future, it is strongly advised to seek legal advice before deciding to purchase a property in Turkey.

NOTE: Berk Ecektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to If a sender's letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise is expressly stated by the sender.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

BERK EcEKTyR (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:May 5, 2014
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