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General country information
Linking Asia and Europe, Turkey is an
aspiring member of the European Union. The country will this year
begin formal negotiations for full membership following a period
of democratic and economic reforms. However, stormy relations
with Greece, especially over Cyprus, remain a difficulty.
Turkey has land borders with Bulgaria,
Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Georgia and a coastline
that borders the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Black seas and the
Sea of Marmara. Istanbul, the country’s cultural and financial
centre (Ankara, Turkey’s second largest city is the capital
and political centre), sits astride the Straits of Bosporus which
provides access into the Black Sea. It has been chosen as the
2010 ‘European capital of culture’.
The country, which is rich in historical sites dating back to
antiquity, offers diversity of peoples and landscapes; the latter
ranging from cave dwellings and volcanic vistas to the relatively
unspoilt ‘blue cruise’ options of Turquoise Coast.
Most European tourists head for the southern coastline of western
Turkey and such places as Marmaris and Bodrum.
The weather in these areas is Mediterranean in nature but property
investors should be aware of the risk of earthquake, especially
in northern Turkey.
Agriculture is an important part of the Turkish economy, as is
tourism, although its fast growing industrial sector includes
substantial interests in textiles and clothing. Growth has been
erratic in recent years and inflation high (over 10 per cent per
The OECD has described the country as
‘at a crossroads’. After hitting the most severe crisis
of its recent history in 2000-2001, the economy bounced back and
is now among the fastest growing economies in the OECD. A new
institutional framework for monetary and fiscal policies as well
as for product, labour and financial markets, infrastructure industries,
and agricultural support has opened a window of opportunity to
escape from the boom and bust cycle of the past, it recently reported.
The relative weakness of the Turkish lira means house prices in
the country are low by European standards. However, they have
been rising steeply in recent years - up 30 per cent in some areas
in 2004, according to some estimates.
Not everybody is permitted to buy property in Turkey. Although
the law has been relaxed in recent years, only those nationals
from countries affording similar property rights to Turkish nationals
may buy property, and then not in military or security zones and
not exceeding 30 hectares. However, a recent decision of Turkey’s
Constitutional Court has thrown the situation into doubt. It decided
that the current law does not provide sufficient guarantees or
restrictions and it has given the Government three months to draft
new regulations for foreign property purchases. Current owners
will not be affected
The transfer process involves application to the local government
office for the transfer of ownership. This will check whether
or not the property is in a restricted zone and accept of reject
the transfer accordingly.
Turkey has a system of land registration.
Although notaries are often involved in property transfer this
is not a legal requirement - both parties can simply make a mutual
declaration at the title deeds registry office. A formal contract
is, of course preferable. Each property should have an official
title deed detailing its ownership and attaching a photograph
of the owner. It is important to see the Use of building
so as to check that the property has been constructed according
to current earthquake proofing regulations and official plans.
As in some other countries, unpaid property taxes attach to the
property and not the owner - so purchasers will want to check
on the current position regarding taxes.
To make the transfer official and record
the price of the property (important for tax purposes) it must
be declared to the local registry office by the end of the calendar
year in which the transfer has taken place.
Stamp duty of 0.75 per cent of the contract value is payable by
both parties to a contract, and there is also a 1.5 per cent fee
to be paid to the local title deeds registry office.
Property must be insured against earthquake damage and there is
an annual land tax of up to 0.3 per cent and income tax to pay
on any capital gains realised within four years of purchase. After
that gains are free of tax while inherited real estate is not
information - Turkey
68.9m (July 2004 est.)
age of population:
|| total: 27.3 years
male: 27.1 years
female: 27.5 years
||Turkish (official), Kurdish,
Arabic, Armenian, Greek
||Turkish lira (TRL)
||25%. (2003 est.)
||Hot, dry summers with mild,
wet winters; harsher