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Turkey granted citizenship to over 19,000 foreigners via real estate investment: ministry

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The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization has stated that 19,630 foreigners have been granted Turkish citizenship by way of real estate investment under a law enacted in 2018, Turkish media reported on Friday.

Erkan Aydın, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted a parliamentary question asking the ministry to disclose the number of foreigners who were naturalized upon buying real estate in Turkey in the 2018-2021 period.

In 2018 Turkey lowered the financial and investment criteria for foreigners to become Turkish citizens, in a bid to boost investment in the economy and prop up the lira, which had fallen some 30 percent in the year following a row with Washington, triggering sanctions.

The new regulations stipulate that foreigners can become citizens if they own property worth $250,000 for three years, down from a previous value of $1 million.

“A total of 19,630 real persons have been entitled to certificates of conformity [for naturalization] by acquiring 30,358 pieces of real estate for purposes of naturalization,” the ministry said in response to Aydın’s parliamentary question.

According to the ministry’s response, 218 parcels of land and arable fields as well as 29,140 housing units and shops were sold to foreigners who intended to acquire Turkish citizenship.

According to the new regulations, foreigners can also become citizens if they hold $500,000 of Turkish debt for three years, down from a previous $3 million.

Foreigners can qualify for Turkish citizenship if they meet any one of a series of criteria. The sharp reduction in the required foreign currency value applies to fixed capital investments and bank deposits as well as properties and bond holdings.

The amount of required fixed capital investment was reduced to $500,000 from $2 million, and the size of bank deposits was cut to $500,000 from $3 million.

It also halved the number of employees an applicant must employ to gain Turkish citizenship to 50 from 100.

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